The lawsuit was filed on Monday on behalf of about 30 American citizens by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

 

It alleges that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, and Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defence, did not take all possible steps to secure the safety and well-being of US citizens when fighting erupted between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas.

 

The committee is asking the district court in Detroit to order the US government to request a ceasefire and to stop shipments of weapons or any other military support to Israel during the evacuation of US citizens from Lebanon.

 

"We just feel the US government has put its citizens at risk by supplying missiles when many US citizens are still there," said Nabih Ayad, the lawyer for suing committee and the citizens who were all in Lebanon.

 

Ayad said a few included in the lawsuit are still trying to leave the country.

 

"We're not trying to interfere with the war, we just want to protect our US citizens and try to bring them back," Ayad said.

 

The US consul in Lebanon, William Gill, said most Americans who wanted to leave Lebanon had done so by Sunday and that US evacuation efforts were nearly complete.

 

He also urged anyone considering leaving to make up their minds quickly as fighting between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas showed no sign of waning.