At least 24 Israeli soldiers killed, cease-fire to start Monday morning
24 Israeli soldiers were killed and another 11 seriously wounded in heavy clashes Saturday with Hizbullah forces in south Lebanon. Five soldiers were killed when an Israeli helicopter was shot down by Hizbullah fire late Saturday, the Israeli army said. Hizbullah claimed the helicopter was struck by an anti-tank missile.
In addition, dozens of Israeli soldiers were hurt during the fighting in Lebanon on Saturday.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Saturday the prime ministers of Lebanon and Israel had agreed to stop fighting at 8 A.M. on Monday, August 14. "I am very happy to announce that the two leaders have agreed that the cessation of hostilities and the end of the fighting will enter into force on 14 August, at 0500 hours GMT," Annan said in a statement distributed in Beirut.
He said he had been in touch with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and with Olmert to discuss the exact time and date of the cessation of hostilities. "Preferably, the fighting should stop now to respect the spirit and intent of the Council decision, the object of which was to save civilian lives, to spare the pain and suffering that the civilians on both sides are living through," Annan said.
According to Haaretz, a senior political source in Israel has confirmed that the cease-fire would go into effect Monday morning at 7 A.M., adding that until that time the Israeli forces would carry on with its ground offensive along the Litani River.
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