Middle East's blackest day since launch of Arab-Israeli peace process

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The Independent Online
The Middle East yesterday experienced its blackest day since the launch of the Arab-Israeli peace process, threatening to plunge the region into a sickening new cycle of violence.

A salvo of heavy Israeli shells, aimed at a Hizbollah rocket battery in Lebanon, obliterated a UN base which had become a sanctuary for civilian refugees, killing at least 70 people. Many of the victims were women and children.

Earlier in the day, Israeli warplanes rocketed an apartment building in the village of Nabatiyeh Fawqah, killing 12 people, including a mother, her four-day-old daughter, and her six other children. President Clinton called last night for a ceasefire amid a chorus of outrage from around the world. Israel described the UN base bombardment as "an unfortunate mistake".

In Cairo earlier in the day, Muslim militants machine-gunned tourists outside a hotel close to the pyramids, killing 15 people, mostly Greek holiday-makers. Egyptian authorities believe the attack may have been aimed at Israeli tourists, in revenge for the assault on Lebanon.

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