The Holy See has protested Israel's air raids on Lebanon, condemning both terrorist acts and reprisals that violate national sovereignty and strike at innocent civilians. On Friday, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, on Friday read a public statement which was broadcast on Vatican Radio. (Pope Benedict is currently on vacation in the Italian Alps.) It said: "As in the past, the Holy See condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other." It stated that Israel's right to self-defence "does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations." "In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation." Cardinal Sodano concluded with a renewed appeal for an end to armed struggle and a renewal of negotiations. Israeli air strikes which have continued since 12 July, have now killed and wounded hundreds of people, mostly civilians. The attacks have disabled power plants, destroyed bridges, and severed major highways. Meanwhile from their quarters in Lebanon, Hezbollah guerillas have launched a series of rocket attacks on targets inside Israel. Yesterday at least eight people were killed and dozens were injured in an attack on Haifa. Earlier, Christian pilgrims Nazareth, on the Sea of Galilee was hit by several rockets. Cardinal Sodano said that the Holy Father was carefully following news of the latest developments in the Middle East, "which risk degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions." Source: Vatican Radio
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