Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lebanese Official Says 600 Civilians Dead

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Up to 600 civilians are believed to have been killed in the Israeli offensive in Lebanon, including as many as 200 buried in the rubble of destroyed buildings, the health minister said Thursday.

The toll was a large jump over previous Health Ministry reports of around 400 killed, which is based on the number of bodies received at Lebanese hospitals.

Lebanon state radio quoted Health Minister Muhammed Jawad Khalifeh as saying up to 600 were killed, and that between 150 and 200 of them were believed to be buried in rubble and unreachable.

The Health Ministry count does not include 20 soldiers the Lebanese army has confirmed dead or 35 guerrillas whose deaths Hezbollah has acknowledged.

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