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A US State Department advisory, dated September 4 but released by the embassy here yesterday, warned Americans of a possible attack on their embassy in Awkar, Lebanon, similar to those of Nairobi and Dar As-Salam.
The advisory said, "There are no known threats to private US citizens or American companies in Lebanon. However, in addition to attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar As-Salam, Tanzania, the US government has received information indicating that a similar attack on the American embassy may be planned in Lebanon." The advisory added, "Should information become available that Americans might be at risk it is US government policy to ensure that its citizens are informed. However, despite the absence of any such specific information, the embassy does urge American citizens to take prudent precautions."
The US advisory was received with dismay by the Lebanese government and security officials and raised questions about its timing. Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, who is on an official visit to Cairo, said he was surprised by the advisory. He added, though, that he "understood the reasons for this routine measure which the US administration takes each time its embassies or interests come under attack anywhere in the world."
But Hariri rejected any doubts on Lebanon's security and stability. He said the Lebanese authorities "are providing without any failure full protection, security and stability for residents, whether they are Americans or nationals."
Other Lebanese officials described the warnings as unjustified, politically motivated, and harmful to Lebanon's image. For its part, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry in Lebanon yesterday announced it was not informed of this dangerous statement.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today continues his two-day visit to Cairo. Upon his arrival yesterday, Hariri held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the peace process and Israel's escalation of the situation in South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa. Hariri also seemed pessimistic over peace negotiations. He later discussed with his counterpart Kamal
Al-Janzouri the deadlock in the Middle East peace process. In a televised speech, the Lebanese Premier expressed Lebanon and Syria's readiness to reach peace with Israel in accordance with the principles of the Madrid Conference. He also stated that the peace process should continue and that Israel has played a key role in hampering this process as a result of the Israeli government's stubbornness on the Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian peace tracks.
Four Israeli allied militiamen were today killed in Jezzine during a Hizbullah operation that targeted their patrol on the Toumat-Neeha road. Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the bomb explosion.
Meanwhile, Israel today shelled the areas of Jabal Rafii and Mazraat Okmata in Iqlim Al-Touffah and a number of villages in the Western Bekaa including Western Mashghara. There were no reports of casualties.
Israeli warplanes at noon carried out mock air raids over the cities of Zahle and Baalback in the Bekaa. An Israeli warplane also flew low over Beirut breaking the sound barrier and drawing Lebanese army fire.
In retaliation to yesterday's intensive Israeli attacks on civilian areas in South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa, the Lebanese Resistance detonated a roadside bomb on the road linking Kawkaba and Ahmadiyyeh which targeted a passing Israeli Allied Militia patrol. The militia's radio reported two militiamen were killed and four others wounded, one of them seriously, in the resistance attack. But a resistance statement said more casualties were scored in the operation. The casualties were flown to Israel for treatment.
A highly cautious atmosphere today prevails over villages in the Western Bekaa and Hasbayya that were targeted yesterday by heavy Israeli bombardment. More than 70 shells fell on the villages of Zellaya, Libbaya, Yohmor, and Marj Al-Zohour. The shelling inflicted great damage upon 25 civilian houses, including the home of the head of the municipality of Marj Al-Zohour. Residents lived long hours of terror and expectation last night as a result of the intensive attacks.
Meanwhile, Israeli bombardment last evening targeted villages in the Western Sector of the occupied zone. Shells fell on the valleys of Harees and Qaisseyyeh, Jabal Zaatar and the outskirts of Sawwaneh. Heavy shelling also targeted the Iqlim Al-Touffah Mountain Ridges.
Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz is expected to travel to Cairo next Tuesday heading the Lebanese delegation to the meetings of the Arab League. Top on the agenda of these sessions will be topics related to Israel's occupation of South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa and the issue of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails. Foreign Minister Boueiz will hold consultations with his counterparts there on what can be done to pressure Israel to implement UN Security Council Resolution 425 in addition to ceasing daily attacks on South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa. The meetings will also discuss ways to convince a number of Arab states to stop all dealings with Israel in a bid to pressure the Jewish State to work on the revival of the Mideast peace process. Also in Cairo, Boueiz is scheduled to host meetings between foreign ministers of Arab countries that are members in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership as a coordinator between the Arab and European sides.
Armenia's Prime Minister is expected to visit Lebanon on September 16 on an official visit to the country. This was announced by Armenia's ambassador to Lebanon who revealed a number of cooperation agreements would be signed during the visit. These accords are expected to boost bilateral cooperation in the fields of tourism and higher and secondary education. A pact to avoid double taxation between Lebanon and Armenia will also be reached.
Eight cooperation accords have been signed between the two countries since the opening of the Armenian embassy in Lebanon. The Armenian official will hold meetings with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and other Lebanese officials.
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