Israeli reserve soldiers greet each other after returning from southern Lebanon in northern Israel Monday, Aug. 14, 2006. A U.N.-imposed cease-fire went into effect Monday designed to end a month of violence that killed more than 900 people.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Middle East in Crisis
Timeline of recent events
Last Updated Aug. 14, 2006
Aug. 14, 2006
The shaky ceasefire held along the Lebanese-Israeli border on its first day, while leaders of the warring groups both claimed victory.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olhmert said his country's forces had delivered "a major blow to Hezbollah," while Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Islamic militant group, claimed a "strategic victory" over Israel.
Olhmert said Israel will continue to pursue Hezbollah.
Nasrallah claimed his militant Islamic group had achieved a "strategic, historic victory" against Israel. He also said it was the wrong time to publicly discuss disarming Hezbollah, which is a condition of the UN ceasefire.
Israeli troops clashed with Hezbollah militants in three separate skirmishes on the first day of the ceasefire, but there were no reports of major hostilities hours after the ceasefire came into effect.
Aug. 11, 2006
The UN Security Council votes 15-0 to adopt the resolution that calls for an end to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. It authorizes the deployment of UN peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israel withdraws.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. and France come to an agreement on the final wording of a draft UN resolution to halt the fighting. Both sides send the text to the governments of Israel and Lebanon. The draft calls for a "full cessation of hostilities." It tells Hezbollah militants to stop all attacks immediately and tells Israel to end "all offensive operations." After the fighting stops, Lebanon is to deploy its armed forces throughout southern Lebanon as the Israeli army withdraws. The draft is presented to the UN Security Council for a vote.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accepts the draft resolution, and will recommend that his government approve the deal in its meeting on Aug. 13.
But, the military offensive that expanded earlier on Friday continues. Israeli air strikes kill at least 14 people across Lebanon, including 12 in an attack on the Abboudiyeh border crossing into Syria. This leaves only one open border crossing from Lebanon into Syria.
Explosions are also reported in Beirut's southern suburbs. Israeli warplanes also hit three vehicles in the Lebanese city of Baalbek, killing at least one person.
Hezbollah fires more than 150 rockets into Israel.
Aug. 10, 2006
The Israeli security cabinet decides to hold off a planned expansion of its ground offensive, to give diplomats a few more days to work on a ceasefire proposal. But Defence Minister Amir Peretz says the military will use "all of its tools" against Hezbollah if the UN ceasefire talks are unsuccessful.
Israeli forces take control of Marjayoun, a predominantly Christian town about eight kilometres north of the Israel-Lebanon border. Israeli warplanes drop leaflets that warn of a "painful and strong" response to Hezbollah, and tell residents in three southern suburbs to evacuate their homes. Lebanese officials say at least four civilians are killed.
Hezbollah fires 110 rockets into northern Israel by mid-afternoon, reportedly killing an Arab Israeli woman and her daughter.
Aug. 9, 2006
The Canadian Embassy in Beirut says Ottawa has booked two ships with room for about 2,400 Canadians still wanting to flee Lebanon. It says the ships will leave from Beirut to an undisclosed location next week.
Israel's security cabinet decides to expand its ground offensive in Lebanon toward the Litani River, about 30 kilometres from the Israel-Lebanon border. Just hours before, Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam is replaced as commander of Israeli forces in Lebanon by Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, the deputy chief of staff.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council continues to debate a draft resolution seeking a ceasefire to the fighting in Lebanon. In a televised speech, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warns Israeli Arabs to leave Haifa, as he threatens to intensify attacks on the Israeli city. He also says he approves of Lebanon's proposal to deploy 15,000 Lebanese troops to south Lebanon.
Eleven Israeli soldiers are killed during fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon. And at least four missiles from Israeli ships strike suburbs south of Beirut. Israeli air strikes also hit the largest of Lebanon's refugee camps for Palestinians and destroy a building in the Bekaa Valley, leaving a woman and four children under the rubble.
- Israel to broaden ground offensive against Hezbollah
- Hezbollah leader warns Arabs to leave Haifa
- 2 more ships to take Canadians from Beirut
Aug. 8, 2006
The UN Security council meets and representatives of the Arab League presents it with a new ceasefire plan, which involves Lebanon deploying 15,000 of its troops along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel is seriously considering this proposal, calling it "interesting," but says Hezbollah guerillas must be disarmed and removed as a threat first.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military drops leaflets in the city of Tyre in southern Lebanon, warning people not to drive or their vehicles will be bombed. And Israeli air strikes hit Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon, as Israeli forces also try to get control of the militant group's villages and sites used to launch rockets at northern Israel.
Hezbollah and Israeli troops exchange gunfire in near Bint Jbail, a militant stronghold that Israeli troops have been trying to capture for weeks. Hezbollah reportedly attacks Israeli troops near the town of Naquora, killing two Israeli reservists. The militant group fires about 90 rockets on northern Israel by the afternoon.
- Arab League to present new ceasefire plan to UN
- Israel to bomb all moving vehicles in southern Lebanon
Aug. 7, 2006
An Israeli air strike kills six civilians and wounds two people, all from the same family, in the village of Ghazzaniyeh. At least 49 people die in Israeli attacks.
Hezbollah rockets wound at least five people. The Israeli army says Hezbollah guerrillas killed two Israeli soldiers with an anti-tank missile in south Lebanon. Hours later, another Israeli soldier is killed by sniper fire.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora again calls for an immediate ceasefire during an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Beirut to discuss the UN Security Council draft resolution on a ceasefire.
The Lebanese government proposes sending 15,000 Lebanese troops to the Israel-Lebanon border to stand between Israel and Hezbollah. Lebanese troops would take control of south Lebanon and Israel would withdraw from the region. Lebanon would assert its control of the region and take control of Hezbollah strongholds.
Amnesty International holds vigils around the world calling for a ceasefire, including one outside Montreal's Mount-Royal metro station.
Aug. 6, 2006
About 80 missiles hit towns across northern Israel, killing 15 Israelis and wounding dozens more — the deadliest attack on Israel since fighting began. Hezbollah also sends rockets into Haifa, killing three and wounding 40 others.
Israeli air strikes and artillery kill at least 13 people in southern Lebanon. Lebanese security officials say the bombing raid lasted for half an hour. Israeli soldiers move into the Lebanese town of Qana.
Diplomatic efforts continue to end the fighting. Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri rejects the U.S.-French draft resolution because it did not include the government’s plan for ending the fighting. The Lebanese cabinet votes unanimously to deploy 15,000 Lebanese soldiers to help 2,000 UN peacekeepers if there is a ceasefire and Israeli forces pull back.
At home in Montreal, Quebec politicians and Jewish and Muslim Canadians march through the city streets, calling for an end to the conflict in the Middle East.
Aug. 5, 2006
Israeli forces storm an apartment building and attack suspected Hezbollah guerillas in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre. The raid was planned to destroy suspected Hezbollah launchers for long-range rockets. The Israeli army also drops leaflets on the city of Sidon, warning residents to leave the area immediately.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah fires more rockets into Israel.
Diplomatic efforts to end the fighting continue as the U.S. and France agree on a draft UN resolution after weeks of negotiation. The draft does not call for an immediate cessation of violence, but calls for Hezbollah to stop all military operations and for Israel to stop its offensive drive against Lebanon. The resolution would allow Israel to strike back if Hezbollah were to break a ceasefire. It also calls for a buffer zone in south Lebanon occupied only by international and Lebanese soldiers.
In Ottawa, about 1,000 people gather on Parliament Hill to protest the fighting in Lebanon.
- Anti-war protesters rally on Parliament Hill
- Israeli commandos in gunfight near Tyre
- U.S., France agree on draft Mideast resolution
Aug. 4, 2006
Hezbollah rockets hit the Israeli city of Hadera, 75 kilometres south of the Israel-Lebanon border. There are no casualties, but the strike marks the farthest south that Hezbollah attacks have reached. Israeli authorities say about 190 rockets hit northern Israel.
Israeli air strikes hit Christian areas north of Beirut for the first time, killing four civilians and wounding 10. Air raids damage four bridges on the main north-south coastal road linking Beirut to Syria, further isolating Lebanon.
Liberal foreign affairs critic Keith Martin demands the Tories call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East conflict and calls for the Harper government to give more funding to aid organizations.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper tells a news conference that principles, not polls, will govern how the Conservatives establish policy, as 80 protesters gather outside the Conservative caucus retreat in response to Harper's refusal to call for an immediate ceasefire.
The body of Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener comes home. Canadian military officials, dignitaries, colleagues, friends and family gather for a repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton.
- Liberals demand Tories call for immediate Mideast ceasefire
- Harper remains firm on Mideast crisis, softwood
- Canadian UN observer's body returned home
Aug. 3, 2006
Early in the morning, Israel launches air strikes near Beirut for the first time in nearly a week.
One Israeli soldier is killed and four others wounded in a battle with Hezbollah guerrillas in Ayt a-Shab in southern Lebanon.
At least eight Israeli civilians are killed as a result of rocket fire, while four Israeli soldiers are killed in clashes with Hezbollah and two others are wounded.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah says his militant group will stop firing rockets on Israeli cities if Israel stops its attacks on Lebanese towns. He threatens to fire rockets at Tel Aviv if central Beirut is attacked.
A statement from the Israeli military says that its bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana was a mistake and that its attack guidelines would be evaluated and updated as a result.
- Israel resumes attacks on Beirut
- Hezbollah leader offers ceasefire, but threatens Tel Aviv
- Qana attack a mistake, Israeli military concludes
Aug. 2, 2006
Hezbollah launches more than 210 rockets into northern Israel, the highest daily number in the conflict. One of the rockets hits Beit Shean, about 68 kilometres from the border, marking the deepest rocket strike into Israel so far. Another Hezbollah rocket hits the West Bank. An Israeli-American is killed and 58 other people injured across the country, police say.
A series of Israeli air raids, including a strike near a hospital in Al Jamaliyeh, kills 15 Lebanese civilians, witnesses say.
About 10,000 Israeli troops move into southern Lebanon, where they conduct house-to-house searches for Hezbollah fighters.
Mohammed al-Safadi, Lebanon's transport and public works minister, says the Israeli attacks have caused an estimated $2 billion US in damage on the country's infrastructure.
Aug. 1, 2006
Israeli troops land by helicopter in northeastern Lebanon and launch strikes on a Hezbollah stronghold in Baalbek, their deepest ground attack in Lebanon since fighting began. The military confirms that it captured several guerrillas in the Baalbek operation.
Heavy fighting near the Lebanese border village of Aita al-Shaab kills three Israeli soldiers. The Israelis say they struck dozens of Hezbollah militants during the fighting.
Israeli planes hit Shia villages in south Lebanon and attack Hezbollah positions elsewhere in the country.
Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati asks Muslim countries to send weapons to Hezbollah to help in the fight against Israel.
July 31, 2006:
Israeli air strikes resume in southern Lebanon less than 12 hours after the government announced a 48-hour suspension to investigate the civilian deaths in Qana.
One of the air strikes kills a Lebanese soldier in Tyre. Other air strikes took place in Taibe to support Israeli ground troops, the military said.
Hezbollah rockets hit Kiryet Shmona in northern Israel. No casualties were reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apologizes for civilian casualties after an Israeli air strike in Qana, but pledges there will be no ceasefire with Hezbollah in the coming days.
Overnight, Israel's security cabinet approves expanding the military ground operation in southern Lebanon by a near-unanimous vote.
- Israeli air strikes resume in Lebanon
- Israel battling a 'vicious force': cabinet minister
- Israel votes to expand ground attack
July 30, 2006
An early morning Israeli air strike on the southern Lebanese town of Qana collapses a building, killing 28 people, many of them women and children. Lebanese officials say the civilians killed had taken refuge in the basement of the building.
Israeli officials say the neighbourhood was targeted based on intelligence that Hezbollah fighters had used it to launch rockets at northern Israel. They also say civilians were warned several days ago to leave Qana.
Hezbollah launches 157 rockets into northern Israel — the highest one-day total during the offensive. The rockets injure 13 people.
Following the Qana attack, Israel agrees to a 48-hour cessation of bombings over southern Lebanon while it investigates the incident. U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli says Israel and the UN will co-ordinate a 24-hour window for civilians to leave southern Lebanon if they wish.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cancels a planned visit to Beirut, hours after the air strike on Qana.
July 29, 2006
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives for talks in Jerusalem. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah says he will co-operate with the Lebanese government in negotiations toward ending the crisis.
France drafts a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon. The proposal calls for a buffer zone in south Lebanon to be patrolled by international forces and the Lebanese army and the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah.
Israeli officials reject a UN call for a 72-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the region and help aid workers bring in humanitarian supplies. A government spokesman says the ceasefire is unnecessary "because Israel has opened humanitarian corridors to and from Lebanon."
An Israeli air strike on a house in the Lebanese village of Nmeiriya kills seven people, including a mother and her five children and another child.
Two UN peacekeepers from India are wounded in an Israeli air strike near their border post in Adaisseh in southern Lebanon.
Israeli warplanes struck the Lebanese side of the Syrian-Lebanese border, blocking fleeing refugees and humanitarian aid.
Israeli troops withdraw from Bint Jbail, saying their mission is finished. Israeli radio reports that Israeli troops had killed 50 guerrillas in the town over a week-long battle. Hezbollah leaders, however, say they had defeated the Israeli forces, killing 18 of their troops.
Hezbollah fires rockets at the northern Israeli town of Safid.
The last of Ottawa's scheduled ships from Lebanon leaves Beirut, carrying hundreds of Canadians, but Foreign Affairs officials say they'll continue to help any Canadians who want to leave. An estimated 13,000 Canadian have left Lebanon during the daily evacuations.
- Nasrallah ready to talk as Rice returns to Mideast
- 2 Indian UN peacekeepers wounded in southern Lebanon
- Canadian evacuees reach 13,000 as 2 ships leave Beirut
July 28, 2006
Israeli defence forces say their warplanes hit 130 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon overnight, including a base in the Bekaa Valley where long-range rockets were stored. Lebanese security officials say the raids killed three people and wounded nine, including four children.
The Israeli army says it has killed about 200 Hezbollah guerrillas since it launched its offensive more than two weeks ago. Hezbollah refutes the claim, saying it has fewer casualties, but provides no number.
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud tells CBC's Nahlah Ayed that Hezbollah has the complete backing of his government.
A United Nations official says the UN will remove 50 members of the unarmed Truce Supervision Organization from posts along the border between Israel and Lebanon to ensure their safety.
Canada's evacuation effort rescues more than 1,000 people, 877 of them Canadians, from Beirut, leaving by boat for Larnaca, Cyprus.
U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announce that they will seek a UN resolution to send a multinational force to south Lebanon to end the conflict.
- Missiles hit Hezbollah base, buildings and hideouts, Israel says
- Lebanese president gives full backing to Hezbollah
- UN removes unarmed observers from border
- Ottawa winds down daily Lebanon evacuations
- Bush, Blair call for multinational force to keep order in Lebanon
July 27, 2006
Israeli jets carry out air strikes, including more than 30 bombing runs in the southern region of Iqlim al-Tuffah. The air strikes hit roads in the south and east, as well as a Lebanese army base in the north. An Israeli missile strikes the car of a Lebanese policeman in the eastern city of Zahle, killing him.
Ground fighting and rocket attacks continue along the Israel-Lebanon border. Hezbollah rockets hit a vacant laundry-detergent plant in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona.
The Israeli cabinet votes to call up reserve units, but rules out expanding its military campaign against Hezbollah.
Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon says the international summit in Rome on the conflict gave Israel permission to continue its operation in Lebanon. European Union officials vehemently disagree, saying that nearly every country represented at the conference called for a ceasefire.
Ayman al-Zawahri, second-in-command of al-Qaeda, says the militant group now sees "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us." In a video message broadcast by Arab television network Al-Jazeera, al-Zawahri threatens to retaliate against the "crusader coalition."
Canadian Foreign Affairs evacuates 1,724 people out of Beirut. The department says that daily ship departures from the port will continue until Saturday and that the Canadian Embassy in Beirut is no longer contacting registered Canadians to board evacuation ships.
- Mideast foes trade air strikes, rocket attacks
- Israel calls up reserves, but won't expand military operation
- 'We will attack everywhere,' al-Qaeda leader warns
- Evacuees pack Beirut port, after talks fail to bring ceasefire
- Postcards urge PM to call for Mideast ceasefire
- Wife of Canadian UN observer prays for a 'miracle'
July 26, 2006
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apologizes to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for the bombing of a UN post in southern Lebanon the day before. Olmert says the attacks were a mistake and promises a full investigation.
A preliminary UN report says UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon called the Israeli military 10 times in six hours asking them to stop bombing in the area, before the post was hit.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls the attack a "terrible tragedy" but says he doubts the attack was deliberate.
Olmert also says Israel wants to establish a two-kilometre-wide "security zone" in south Lebanon, free of Hezbollah guerillas.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah says they will start firing rockets capable of reaching deeper into Israel.
Israeli troops continue to fight for control of Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah stronghold. About 20 Israeli rockets hit a southern suburb of Beirut, another Hezbollah site.
U.S., European, Arab and Canadian officials – including Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay – meet in Rome and say they should work towards a ceasefire, but can't agree on a plan to put it in place. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the summit must work to end the violence, but they cannot return to the "status quo" of instability in Lebanon. Annan says any solution to the region's violence must include Iran and Syria.
Canadians trying to leave Lebanon head for the city of Tyre, where they board a Canadian-chartered ship waiting offshore, headed for Cyprus.
- Harper doubts UN post deliberately targeted
- Israeli troops battle Hezbollah guerrillas for control of border town
- World leaders want ceasefire, but fail to work out details
- Stranded Canadians shuttled to waiting ship in Lebanon
July 25, 2006
Saudi Arabia's king urges Israel to stop its attacks on Lebanon, warning the violence could plunge the Middle East into a regional war if a ceasefire can't be forged.
The United States says it won't pressure Israel for a quick end to its military campaign against Hezbollah.
Opponents to Israel's military campaign in Lebanon and Gaza organize a general strike throughout the West Bank.
Demonstrators in Ramallah briefly clash with Palestinian police, throwing rocks as police beat them back with sticks.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirms Washington's commitment to a future two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Saudi Arabia pledges a $1.5-billion US donation to Lebanon to help with the reconstruction of the country and to restart the economy.
Hezbollah rockets kill a teenage girl and injure more than 30 people in northern Israel.
Israel says its troops are focused solely on crushing Hezbollah outposts and rocket-launching sites near the border with Israel. Israel says it has no intention of sending ground forces beyond southern Lebanon.
The Israeli military seals off the Lebanese border town of Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah stronghold.
However, Israel says it will open safe delivery passages into Lebanon for humanitarian aid.
Israel air strikes hit a United Nations post, killing three UN observers, including a Canadian. One observer is missing. Officials say the observers are from Austria, China, Finland and Canada. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says the UN post near Khiam, Lebanon, was clearly marked and Israel had assured them it would not be targeted by Israeli forces. Annan calls the attack "apparently deliberate".
- Saudi king warns of regional war if strikes continue in Lebanon
- U.S. won't pressure Israel for quick end to violence: Rice
July 24, 2006
Canadian soldiers help about a dozen Canadians flee from Tyre and get on a Cyprus-bound ship chartered by the Canadian government.
Three Palestinians die and eight are wounded after the Israeli military shells Beit Lahiya, a town in the Gaza Strip.
A Canadian-born pilot serving in the Israeli Air Force dies after his helicopter crashes in northern Israel.
An Israeli helicopter crashes near the Lebanese border, injuring six soldiers and sparking a huge fire.
Humanitarian aid begins to arrive in the port of Beirut after the Israeli navy lifts its blockade.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Beirut on a surprise visit. She says a ceasefire is urgently needed, but only if conditions exist to make it sustainable.
UN emergency relief chief Jan Egeland announces that $171 million is needed to deliver food, medicine, clean water and sanitation services to the Lebanese people over the next three months.
- Canadian soldiers help dozens escape Lebanon
- Canadian-born pilot killed in Israeli helicopter crash
- Israeli troops capture 2 Hezbollah guerrillas in fierce fighting
- Annan, Rice intensify diplomatic efforts to end conflict in Lebanon
- 'Significant' American aid on way to Lebanon
July 23, 2006
Hezbollah militants continue to launch volleys of rockets into northern Israel, killing two people in one attack on the city of Haifa.
Israel conducts air strikes on Beirut, Tyre and the southern port of Sidon, where Israeli missiles destroy the Sayyed al-Zahraa religious complex, which is linked to Hezbollah. Israeli troops bomb a textile factory in al-Manara, a Lebanese border town, killing one person.
John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, rejects Syria's offer to enter talks with the U.S. to resolve the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabian officials, including Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, meet with U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington, D.C., to discuss a ceasefire.
UN emergency relief chief Jan Egeland visits Beirut and calls for an end to the violence, saying the "disproportionate response by Israel is a violation of international humanitarian law."
The Department of Foreign Affairs announces that it has chartered a ship to take up to 1,000 Canadian citizens out of the southern Lebanese port of Tyre on July 26. The transportation out of Tyre means that Canadians there won't have to make the potentially dangerous trip to Beirut, where most Canadians are leaving Lebanon.
- Explosions rock Lebanon, Israel
- U.S. rejects Syrian call for ceasefire
- Saudi Arabia seeks Lebanon ceasefire in meeting with Bush, Rice
- Beirut bombings violate humanitarian law: UN
- Ship will take Canadians from Tyre: Ottawa
July 22, 2006
Israel sends troops, tanks and bulldozers into southern Lebanon, seizing Maroun al-Ras, a large Lebanese border village.
Government spokesperson Avi Pazner says the attack is not an invasion and Israel has no intention of re-occupying Lebanon. "There is not yet a decision on an invasion of Lebanon," Pazner says.
Israeli planes fire missiles at communications towers in the mountains of northern and central Lebanon. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corp., the nation's leading private network, and two other TV stations go off the air within seconds.
Maj.-Gen. Sayyed Hassan Firuzabadi, the chairman of the joint chiefs of Iran's armed forces, says Iran would not join the fighting in the Middle East.
The Department of Foreign Affairs announces that about 2,000 more Canadians have been transported out of Lebanon to Cyprus.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announces that the number of refugees within Lebanon — 700,000 people displaced within the country by some estimates — could result in a "major humanitarian disaster."
- Israeli forces enter southern Lebanon
- Nearly 2,000 Canadians safely out of Lebanon
- Lebanese refugees a potential disaster, Annan warns
July 21, 2006:
Israeli tanks and troops mass along the Lebanese border to prepare for a ground invasion. The action is designed to push Hezbollah back to create a buffer zone. A military radio station broadcasts warnings to southern Lebanon residents to leave the area.
A United Nations post near the Israeli-Lebanese border is hit, but reports about the attack's origin are conflicting. The Israeli army says Hezbollah rockets fell short of their targets and struck the post. An unnamed official at the UN post tells Canadian Press an Israeli artillery shell hit the building. The post is used by the UN interim force, which patrols the border established by the UN when Israeli troops withdrew from Lebanon six years ago.
Israeli troops — believed to be more than 1,000 soldiers — cross into Lebanon for the third straight day. Israeli air strikes hit Beirut, the Bekaa Valley and south Lebanon, sites thought to be Hezbollah strongholds. A section of Lebanon's oldest bridge, which is part of the Beirut-Damascus highway in central Lebanon, collapses after being hit with four Israeli missiles. Senior military officials say their offensive will not end until Israel can create a buffer zone by forcing Hezbollah to retreat behind the Litani river, 30 kilometres north of the Israeli-Lebanese border.
Hezbollah launches rockets into northern Israel. Five rockets hit Haifa and injure at least six people. The militant group says it has fired about 900 rockets into Israel in the past 10 days.
Israel's ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, rejects previous warnings of possible war crimes charges, saying Israel is attacking legitimate Hezbollah military targets.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she's heading to Israel to work toward a diplomatic solution but did not call for a ceasefire. She says the illegal Hezbollah attack on Israel was the cause of the violence, and a ceasefire would only be a short-term fix.
July 20, 2006:
The first boatload of Canadians arrives in Cyprus, after a 15-hour trip from Lebanon. At least 1,375 Canadians leave Beirut on ships headed for the Turkish port of Mersin. The ships begin arriving in Turkey at night. Nearly 100 people fly to Ottawa on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government plane and the rest will take flights chartered by the federal government.
Three Israeli soldiers are wounded in two separate clashes with Hezbollah guerrillas inside southern Lebanon. Hezbollah says it destroyed two Israel tanks on the way to the border town of Maroun al-Ras. Israeli jets strike homes believed to be used by Hezbollah in the Lebanese town of Hermel, wounding three. Fighter jets also destroy another alleged Hezbollah site, a five-storey building in Baalbek.
The Israeli Army says a full-scale invasion of Lebanon is still a possibility.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan condemns Hezbollah's "provocative attack" and Israel's "disproportionate" response during a special session of the United Nations Security Council. He calls for an end to the hostilities. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour says that war crimes charges may be warranted against Israel and Hezbollah if steps aren't taken to protect civilians.
World leaders' reactions are split. Canada and the U.S. say Israel's response is measured. France and Russia condemn the air strikes, calling them an overreaction. Annan also says humanitarian groups cannot reach the more than 500,000 people in Lebanon who have been displaced or affected by the bombing.
- Israeli troops cross Lebanese border
- Canadians reach Cyprus after gruelling trip from Lebanon
- 70 troops off to Cyprus, navy ships on standby
- 'Hostilities must stop,' UN chief Annan says
July 19, 2006:
Canadians board the first ship out of the port of Beirut, chartered by Ottawa to rescue them from the strife-torn region. About 261 people board the ship, forcing the rest of the roughly 1,800 Canadians wanting to leave Beirut to stay one more night.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes a surprise announcement that he and his wife, Laureen, will fly to Cyprus and shuttle about 120 Canadians back home. He later flies to Cyprus with a skeleton crew to make room for those fleeing Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora appeals for an end to the hostilities, which have left 300 dead and 1,000 wounded, the first official casualty figures out of Lebanon.
It is one of the deadliest days since the conflict began. Israeli troops clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Israeli strikes kill at least 58 people in Lebanon and Hezbollah militants kill at least four Israelis. Hezbollah fires a rocket into northern Israel, killing three people – two of them children – in Nazareth. It marks the first direct hit on a holy town during this conflict. Israeli warplanes drop 23 one-tonne bombs – also known as "bunker busters" – on a suspected Hezbollah bunker. The militant organization says none of its members are killed.
There are 80 Israeli air strikes overnight.
Diplomatic efforts to cease the fighting continue, with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaking via telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
- Hezbollah bunker bombed: Israeli military
- Stranded Canadians begin boarding evacuation ship
- Harper to fly to Cyprus to help with evacuation
July 18, 2006:
Israeli air strikes kill 11 Lebanese soldiers at an army base near Kfar Chima, as soldiers were heading for bomb shelters. Another 35 soldiers are injured.
The southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, and a coastal road north of Beirut are hit. Hezbollah rockets hit Israel, many in the northern city of Haifa.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan calls for an international force to stop the fighting in Lebanon. The U.S. and Israel have indicated they're not keen on the idea.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will continue to hit Hezbollah targets until the soldiers captured by Hezbollah are freed and Israelis are safe from attacks.
Israeli air strikes overnight level almost 20 houses and buildings in Lebanon. The military says it has crushed about 50 per cent of Hezbollah's arsenal. A Christian suburb in Beirut is hit for the first time since the offensive began.
July 17, 2006:
The Israeli army sends ground troops into Lebanon for a quick operation involving a small number of troops to reduce Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel, according to officials. Israeli warplanes pound Tripoli in northern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley in the east. At least 15 people are killed.
Nine Lebanese army soldiers are killed and more wounded in attacks on military bases at the nearby port of Abdeh on Lebanon's northern coast, Lebanese security sources tell Reuters. The Israeli air force also hits the eastern city of Baalbek. Six Lebanese civilians are killed in an air strike on the village of Aitaroun, witnesses tell Hezbollah TV, the Islamist organization's television station. In Gaza City, Israeli air strikes destroy the Palestinian Foreign Ministry building. Nine Lebanese civilians are killed in a missile attack in the city of Tyre — all from one family, six of them children.
In a news conference, the Israeli military says it hit 60 Hezbollah targets on Sunday alone.
Hezbollah fires hundreds of missiles back into Israel, some reaching as far south as Arafula, about 60 kilometres south of the border. A rocket fired from Lebanon hits Haifa, destroying a three-storey building and killing three people. Hezbollah rockets also hit the northern Israeli town of Safed, Israeli officials say. Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Nablus ambush Israeli troops, killing one and wounding six others.
Israel says it would consider a ceasefire if Hezbollah agrees to pull back from the Lebanese border and release two captured Israeli soldiers. Hezbollah rejects Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's ceasefire offerings of July 18, saying they were just an excuse to let Israel continue its attacks. The ceasefire proposal does not curtail the air strikes — they continue in Lebanon and Israel late into the day.
Canada leases six ships from Cyprus to retrieve Canadians who want to leave strife-torn Lebanon, the Department of Foreign Affairs says. The ships will be able to transport about 4,500 people a day. Ottawa says the evacuation could begin by the middle of the week, but will only proceed if the vessels are allowed safe and secure passage.
July 16, 2006:
For the first time since fighting began, Israeli warplanes drop bombs on central Beirut, its suburbs and a major power station. Seven Canadians are killed, most of whom were members of an extended family from Montreal on vacation in the village of Aitaroun: Ali El-Akhras, his wife Amira and their four children aged one, four, six and eight.
Hezbollah carries out a missile attack on a rail repair plant that kills eight people in the Israeli city of Haifa. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warns that the attacks on Haifa would have "far-reaching consequences."
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay announces plans for evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon.
Leaders of the Group of 8 industrial nations issue a statement calling for Israel to end its military actions in Lebanon and Gaza and for "extremist forces" to return Israeli soldiers captured in cross-border raids.
UN peacekeepers cover the bodies of people killed when Israeli military jets bombed their vehicles near the southern border village of Ter Harfa, Lebanon on July 15, 2006. (Mohammed Zaatari/Associated Press)
July 15, 2006:
Fifteen people, including a number of children, die in an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon, according to Lebanese police. Israel expands its range of targets to include the northern port city of Tripoli. Eighteen Lebanese villagers are killed while fleeing when missiles hit their vehicles en route to the southern city of Tyre.
Hezbollah fires rockets for the first time at the Israeli city of Tiberias, 35 kilometres south of the Lebanon-Israel border. No injuries were reported. Rockets also hit other cities along the border, including Nahariya, Safed, Mahanayim, Hatzor, Ben Ami and Karmiel.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa calls on the United Nations Security Council to tackle the crisis.
July 14, 2006:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada is concerned about the "escalation of violence in the Middle East," adding that it is essential that Hezbollah release two captured Israeli soldiers and Hamas do the same with two others. On his way to the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Harper indirectly appealed to the governments of Syria, Iran and Lebanon, asking them to "encourage the recognition of Israel's right to exist." Harper says Israel is simply defending itself against Hezbollah and he describes Israel's response to the kidnapping of its soldiers as "measured."
Israel pounds Lebanon, destroying Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut and smashing city roads and runways. Shortly after the attack, the organization's official television station, Hezbollah TV, played a recorded audio speech. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the group's secretary general, says, "You want an open war, we will go to the open war. We are ready for it. War, war on every level."
Meanwhile, reports surface that a Hezbollah rocket in the northern Israeli town of Meron has killed an Israeli woman and a four-year-old girl.
The United Nations Security Council meets in an emergency session to discuss a request by Lebanon to condemn the Israeli attacks. It is unable to agree on a response, but issues a brief statement calling for countries in the region to co-operate with UN efforts to arrange a ceasefire.
- 'Escalation is inevitable' unless Israeli soldiers released: Harper
- Hezbollah leader vows 'open war' on Israel
- Intense diplomacy to stop Mideast fighting
Fuel storage tanks burn at Rafik Hariri International Airport, in Beirut, Lebanon, July 14, 2006, after Israeli helicopter gunships targeted it with missiles. (Hussein Malla/Associated Press)
July 13, 2006:
Israeli air strikes target Beirut's international airport, destroying runways and fuel storage tanks. Other attacks hit highways, including the main highway between Beirut and Damascus, and military bases. The Israeli strikes kill about 60 people in Lebanon. Israel's navy enforces a sea blockade of ports in Lebanon. Israel insists that Hezbollah will not be able to return to its former position along the international border.
Hezbollah responds to the first wave of Israeli strikes by firing more than 100 Katushya rockets into northern Israel, killing two civilians. A rocket hits Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, but Hezbollah does not claim responsibility.
July 12, 2006:
Hezbollah militants in Lebanon conduct a raid into Israel, killing as many as seven Israeli soldiers and wounding another eight. The militants also capture two Israeli soldiers.
Israel's Defence Ministry says the Lebanese government would be held responsible for the kidnappings.
Israeli rockets target roads and bridges in southern Lebanon in an apparent attempt to block escape routes and troops enter the country to search for the abducted soldiers. Eight soldiers are killed and two are injured during fighting with Hezbollah.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert calls the Hezbollah attack "an act of war."
- Timeline of recent events
- UN under fire: What happened at patrol base Khiyam?
- International rescue efforts
- What constitutes a war crime?
- Frontline blogs
- CBC's Adrienne Arsenault interview: Israeli spokesperson Isaac Herzog
- CBC's Nahlah Ayed interview: Lebanon President Emile Lahoud
Canada and Lebanon
Reports from Abroad
- Mideast Dispatches
- CBC's foreign correspondents report from the field
- When is a war a War?
- Robert Sheppard, Reality Check
- Intentionally or not, Harper took sides
- John Gray, Reality Check
- Middle East
- Dual citizenship
- Israel and Lebanon have never signed a peace deal.
- In 1969, Lebanon signed a deal that allowed Palestinian guerrillas access to southern Lebanon.
- In 1978, Israel invaded Lebanon.
- In 1982, Israel invaded again on a wider scale in an attempt to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization.
- In May 2000, Israel pulled out of Lebanon.