EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana called for an immediate cease-fire following a deadly Israeli raid on a southern Lebanese village, saying Sunday that "nothing can justify" the deaths of innocent civilians.

Solana said he spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora after the Israeli airstrike on Qana, which Lebanese security officials say killed 57 people early Sunday.

"I have expressed to him my profound dismay and deep sorrow at the death of innocent civilians in Qana," Solana said in a statement, reiterating his call for a cease-fire. "Nothing can justify this."

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Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Union's commissioner for external relations, called the Israeli attack an "unjustifiable" escalation at a time when the international community is working to find an end to the violence between Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas.

"Immediate cessation of violence and hostilities is now more important than ever. The killings of innocent people, particularly of children, must stop now," she said in a statement.

"We keep supporting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his efforts and approach to peace and call on all sides to restrain from further violence," she said.

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