As the death toll continues to mount along the Israeli-Lebanese border, several foreign governments are undertaking a mass evacuation of their citizens in Lebanon. A ship departed from Beirut to take about 1,200 European passport-holders out of the country.
At sunset, passengers were bused from the French embassy to Beirut's port, where the Greek passenger ferry Yerapetra was waiting to take them away from the violence. Earlier in the day, the port was hit by an Israeli airstrike, which killed two truck drivers. French officials say they received Israeli guarantees for the ship's safety.
This afternoon, several U.S. Marine helicopters took off from the American embassy, carrying several dozen evacuees who were described as emergency cases.
The Pentagon says a Greek ship called the Orient Queen has been contracted to begin evacuating other Americans, under the protection of a U.S. warship.
As foreigners struggle to get out of Lebanon, the death toll among civilians continues to rise. Dozens more were killed Monday in Israeli airstrikes around the country.
European and United Nations diplomats have traveled to Beirut to meet with the embattled Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, who has called for an immediate, U.N.-brokered cease fire.
The visiting diplomats are insisting that Hezbollah release the two Israeli soldiers whose capture last Tuesday triggered the crisis. Hezbollah's leader says Israel will only get its soldiers back through a prisoner exchange.
Israeli officials maintain that they would agree to halt the conflict if the solders are freed and Hezbollah guerrillas withdraw from the border.