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Egypt stops Israeli attack on Beirut

July 16, 2006 at 9:08 PM

CAIRO, July 16 (UPI) -- Egyptian leaders convinced Israeli leaders to stop a planned attack on Beirut last week over the abduction of two Israeli troops, Ha'aretz reported.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also disclosed an Iranian offer to negotiate a settlement with Hezbollah, as part of Arab initiatives to resolve the crisis, but he said Tehran's offer was "a trap."

"Egypt was keen not to let the Israelis into Beirut," Mubarak told reporters Sunday, following talks with United Arab Emirates President, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan. "If we hadn't stepped in, Beirut would have been destroyed."

Mubarak urged an unconditional cease-fire.

"It's impossible that anyone on either side will respond to any conditions except in a ceasefire and calm, and then we can talk with logic and reason," Mubarak said. "Without a ceasefire, people continue to die, infrastructure is destroyed, the people are made homeless. Therefore I call on Israel to end the hostilities. War will not solve this."

The tension in the area has drawn lines between neighboring nations, with Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei openly praising Hezbollah and Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti leaders donating a total of $70 million to Lebanon in aid, the paper said.

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