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A U.S. Navy ship left an Israeli port Thursday afternoon as a precaution following the escalating conflict between Israel and Lebanon, a U.S. Navy official said.

The Navy fleet ocean tug USNS Apache pulled away from the port in Haifa, Israel, at 1 p.m. local time.

A few hours later, The Associated Press reported two Katyusha rockets fired by Lebanese guerillas hit the city, causing no injuries, Israeli police said. [See story on page 14.]

“The Apache was ordered to get under way as a precautionary measure, not as a result of a specific threat to the ship or [its] crew,” said Lt. Chris Servello, a 6th Fleet spokesman.

A U.S. Navy official said the decision to pull out was a direct result of the escalating conflict, which started Wednesday when Israel sent warplanes, tanks and gunboats into Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants.

The Apache is a noncombatant ship operated by 16 U.S. merchant mariners. The ship is on a routine deployment to the Mediterranean and participating in a scheduled exercise with the Israeli navy, Servello said.

Classical singer Bocelli to visit Camp DarbyAndrea Bocelli, one of the world’s best-known classical singers, will sign autographs and meet fans Tuesday at Camp Darby, Italy.

Bocelli, who has produced more than a dozen classical and pop albums in his career, is promoting a July 27 concert at the Teatro Del Silenzio in his hometown of Lajatico. He’s the honorary chairman of the society that runs the unusual theater that sits amid agricultural fields in the small community near Pisa.

Bocelli is scheduled to spend about an hour talking with fans in the plaza that borders the base’s exchange and commissary. Discounted tickets for his concert and copies of some of his recordings will be available for purchase.

Bocelli is known by many as an opera singer, but he’s crossed over frequently into pop music. His latest CD, “Amore,” features guest appearances by Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera and Kenny G.

He’s also set to perform July 29 in Udine, about an hour’s drive east of Aviano Air Base. The Italian has spent much of the last few years performing his music abroad.

1st AD soldier dies at Grafenwöhr rangeGRAFENWÖHR, Germany — A 1st Armored Division soldier has died after an incident at one of the ranges at Grafenwöhr Training Area on Tuesday.

Spc. Joshua E. Mullinix, 22, a combat engineer from Company A, 9th Engineer Battalion, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head during company level range qualification at Range 126 at approximately 4 p.m. Tuesday, 1st AD officials stated in a news release issued Thursday.

Mullinix was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel and was transported to the Grafenwöhr morgue, the officials said.

Mullinix, who was from Littlestown, Pa., is survived by his parents and three sisters of Gettysburg, Pa. An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death is ongoing, officials said.


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