Israeli attacks escalated in the past hours on South Lebanon. Israeli shells, launched from the Zaffateh position, targeted the villages of Kfar Tibnit, Nabatieh Al-Faouqa, Mleekh, and Lowaizeh. Israeli shelling of the village of Kfar Tibnit injured two Lebanese civilians, Ibrahim Fakih and 110-year-old Abdel Hussein Besher. The attacks on the village also destroyed a number of civilian homes belonging to Mohammed Ali Yassin, Hussein Yassin, Amin Mohammed Yassin and Ali Kamel Hayek. The electricity network in the village was also damaged.
For its part, the Lebanese Resistance early this morning attacked Israeli outposts in Sojod, Bir Kallab and Ali-Attaher. A statement by the resistance said direct hits were scored among members of the Israeli army and their allied militia. In another development, Hizbullah announced one of its members, Hussein Hammoudi, was killed during Israeli shelling on the Southern village of Zibkin.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri this morning left for Damascus where he was received by Syrian Presidnet Hafez Al-Assaad in the Rawda Palace. He is also expected to hold talks with top Syrian officials on a number of recent internal developments in Lebanon. The general situation in the region in light of the stalemate in the Middle East peace process and bilateral relations between Lebanon and Syria are also to be tackled by the two sides.
Hariri is currently on a private vacation which starts today and ends on Sunday. He is expected to fly this evening to Saudi Arabia to visit King Fahd who was admitted to hospital for medical tests last week.
Cabinet held its weekly meeting yesterday at the presidential palace in Baabda. The session was headed by President Elias Al-Hrawi and attended by Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and the ministers. After the meeting, cabinet decided to allocate a sum of LL118 billion from the budget reserve to development projects in the Baalback-Hermel area. The projects mainly involve water and road networks. Ministers also decided to extend the mandate of the army in the Bekaa region for another six months. The army was deployed in the area following Sheikh Sobhi Toufeily's "Hunger Revolution" to keep the region in check.
Cabinet failed to discuss yesterday the issue of opening an extraordinary parliamentary session and to address the pay scales project. Acting Information Minister Shawki Fakhoury yesterday announced the session could be opened by a decree to be decided upon by the presidency of the republic and the prime ministry. Regarding the public sector pay scales draft law, Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura is expected to present the government with a detailed report in the next few days.
Kuwait's Information Minister Youssef Al-Smeit today held talks with President Elias Al-Hrawi at the presidential palace in Baabda. After the meeting, the Kuwaiti official told reporters he handed the president a letter from Kuwaiti Prince Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Crown Prince Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. The letter included their personal and official appreciation of Lebanon and its leadership. Al-Smeit added Hrawi briefed him on Lebanon's stance regarding the situation in South Lebanon and the whole region. The Kuwaiti official reiterated his country's support to the implementation of UN Resolution 425 and all other international resolutions.
Kuwait's Information Minister, who later met today House Speaker Nabih Berri, is also expected to visit Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri later this evening. The Kuwaiti official arrived late last night at Beirut's International Airport for a four-day visit, coming from Damascus at the head of a high-ranking media delegation. He was received by Information Minister Bassem Sabaa who welcomed his visit to Lebanon hoping it will contribute to boosting bilateral media cooperation between Lebanon and Kuwait.
This morning, Kuwait's Information Minister Youssef Al-Smeit started his meetings in Lebanon with a visit to his Lebanese counterpart Bassem Al-Sabaa. The meeting was attended by media professionals and officials from both sides. The two information ministers later held a joint press conference reiterating their ministries' bid at boosting and activating cooperation. An agreement was also reached between the two sides to form joint media committees charged with implementing the cooperation protocols signed by the two countries.
In parliament, House Speaker Nabih Berri today received a delegation of the General Labor Confederation. The newly elected president Elias Abu-Rizk discussed with Berri a number of GLC demands. Abu-Rizk told reporters after the meeting, discussions centered on the country's social and economic situation. He also called for the immediate implementation of the public sector salary scales project.
The president of the United Nations General Assembly Hennadiy Udovinko today concluded his official visit to Lebanon. During his three-day visit, the UN official held talks with Lebanese President Elias Al-Hrawi, House Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz. He also inspected construction work in down town Beirut during a tour of Solidere. Udovinko's visit also aimed at inspecting the work of UN agencies and institutions in the country. Before leaving, Udovinko told reporters at Beirut's International Airport his country Ukraine was willing to send troops to Lebanon to serve under UNIFIL in South Lebanon as soon as the Norwegian battalion withdraws.
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