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Tel Aviv's City Hall lit up in colours of Lebanese flag in support over Beirut blast

Tel Aviv's City Hall lit up in colours of Lebanese flag in support over Beirut blast

Tel Aviv: The red, white and cedar green of the Lebanese flag were lit up over a Tel Aviv square on Wednesday in a rare show of Israeli solidarity with Beirut as it reels from a devastating explosion.

The massive warehouse explosion in Lebanon's port district of the capital Beirut on Tuesday killed at least 135 people and injured more than 5000.

City Hall in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square was lit up in the colours of the Lebanese flag on Wednesday.

City Hall in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square was lit up in the colours of the Lebanese flag on Wednesday.Credit:Facebook/TelAvivCityIL

Israel has been in a technical state of war with Lebanon for generations, and it deems the country's armed Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah, backed by Iran, the biggest threat across its northern border.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 and have traded fire again in recent weeks.

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But, arguing that "humanity comes before any conflict", Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai ordered City Hall on Rabin Square, named for the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, to be illuminated with the Lebanese flag on Wednesday evening.

At nightfall, windows on the 13-storey building's facade were filled with light in the design of Lebanon's flag: two horizontal red stripes enveloping a wider band of white, with a large green cedar tree - Lebanon's national symbol - at the centre.

The decision drew criticism from some Israelis, including cabinet minister Rafael Peretz, who on Twitter likened it to "raising [an] enemy state's flag in the heart of Tel Aviv".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had offered aid to Lebanon,

Lebanon has not responded to the overture, according to an Israeli defence official, who suggested that Israel with UN support could "set up and operate field hospitals on our side of the border and admit casualties from Lebanon".

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Wednesday a day of mourning and ordered Palestinian flags in the territory to be lowered to half mast in solidarity with Lebanon.

Reuters

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