Three Israeli soldiers were killed and three others wounded, two seriously, in an operation for the Lebanese Resistance in South Lebanon. Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the attack it carried on the Israeli outpost in Blat. The attacks was followed by heavy Israeli shelling on the Southern villages of Sojod, Rayhan, and Mazraat Okmata in Iqlim Al-Touffah.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri yesterday continued his socio-economic consultations with a number of Lebanese officials who all agreed on the necessity of maintaining the planned 37% budget deficit. The premier held talks with the Liberation and Development Bloc headed by deputy Ahmad Soueid who later said he carried to the premier some socio-economic suggestions but did not wish to reveal any of them. Hariri later met a delegation from the Phalange Party headed by George Saadeh who stressed the importance of the war-displaced file as a national priority. The premier latter held a meeting with the parliamentary Northern Metn Bloc headed by interior minister Michel Al-Murr and represented by deputy Shaker Abu-Sleiman who stressed the budget deficit should not exceed the 37%. The premier also held discussions with a delegation of Bekaa deputies headed by deputy Sami Al-Khatib. Talks centered on ways to fund development plans in underprivileged areas in the Bekaa among other core issues namely the pay-scales draft law and the war-displaced file. This file earlier topped discussions between Hariri and Minister of the War Displaced Walid Jumblatt who was accompanied by Environment Minister Akram Shhayyeb. Jumblatt later said there was no personal disagreement between him and Hariri adding the differences involve political orientation. Jumblatt added more sea property revenues could be channeled to solve a big part of the problem. The prime minister is later expected to continue his consultations with top Lebanese religious leaders.
The Malaysian Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Rafida Aziz is in Lebanese for talks on bilateral cooperation with a number of Lebanese officials. Aziz signed with Acting Minister of Finance Fouad Sanyoura an agreement on protecting and encouraging investment between the two countries. The 10-year contract can be renewed if the two governments accept. The Malaysian minister is in Lebanon for an official visit during which she is expected to hold discussions with prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri, Industry Minister Nadim Salem, and Trade Minister Yassin Jaber.
The visit aims at exploring ways of boosting bilateral cooperation between Kuala Lumpur and Beirut on different levels.
In front of the International Red Cross headquarters in Beirut, mothers of Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons yesterday converged as they do every Thursday to protest the kidnapping of three Lebanese citizens from the village of Mlikh. Many cried over the pictures of their sons, brothers, and husbands and some almost fainted. The head of the follow-up committee of Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails Mohammed Safa called on the government to file a complaint to the UN Security Council demanding the release of all prisoners from Israeli detention centers. Many prisoners suffer from bad health conditions and are even forbidden ICRC visits.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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