The United States on Friday called for "maximum restraint" on the part of Israel and Hizbollah, engaged in raids and retaliatory strikes over the past two days.
"We are deeply troubled by the recent escalation of violence and we deeply regret the loss of life, injuries and the damage to civilian infrastructure on both sides," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
"We have made clear that we think it's important for everyone to exercise maximum restraint. This is a particularly sensitive situation that could escalate out of control, and it could undermine efforts to advance the peace process."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan demanded an end to the violence, his spokesman Fred Eckhard said in New York.
Annan "calls on both sides to desist from further violence, and in particular to cease all attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure," he said.
"Secretary-General Kofi Annan deplored the escalation of the violence around Lebanon since last Wednesday, which has caused civilian casualties among both sides, including the deaths of two Lebanese women," he added.
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had sent messages to all parties and had spoken by telephone to Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara, Boucher added.
The Arab League has announced it would hold a meeting Saturday to discuss the escalating situation in Lebanon, according to reports quoting the organization’s secretary general, Esmat Abdel Meguid Friday – (Agencies)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)