Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Twenty-First Century State Terrorism: Israeli Military Kills One Hezbollah Guerrilla Fighter And 57 Lebanese Civilians

"Lebanon on Wednesday suffered its worst day of violence since Israel began its bombardment last week with at least 58 people killed in airstrikes.

All but one of the dead were civilians.

The greatest number of deaths occurred in the south of the country, with at least 17 people, including several children, killed and 30 wounded in a strike that destroyed houses in the southern village of Srifa, according to residents.

There were also reports that some people had been buried alive in their homes following attacks in the south and east of the country.

Hizbollah rocket attacks on Israel killed two children and wounded 14 in the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth while other northern Israeli cities such as Haifa were again targeted by the Islamist group.

Elsewhere two Israeli troops were killed and nine wounded in ground fighting after they crossed the Lebanese border to raid guerrilla posts.

Ehud Olmert, Israeli prime minister, ruled out a ceasefire and reiterated on Wednesday that the Lebanese offensive would last “as long as necessary”.

Israel says it has no plans so far for a full invasion of southern Lebanon but aims to clear a 1km zone and prevent Hizbollah deployments there.

Mr Olmert said after meeting Javier Solana, European Union foreign policy chief, in Jerusalem that the Lebanese offensive would continue until the return of two captured soldiers and implementation of United Nations resolutions on the disarming of Hizbollah. Wednesday’s deaths mean that 15 Israeli civilians have been killed in the fighting over the last eight days while 300 Lebanese have died.

The rapidly increasing civilian death toll is radicalising Lebanon’s population, especially the Shia community that bears the brunt of the Israeli attacks, according to a Beirut pollster.

“The Shia will never forgive the Israelis for this,” said Abdo Saad of the Beirut Centre for Research and Information that carries out surveys in Lebanon. Mr Abdo did an ad hoc poll of the mood among Shia displaced by the fighting and said that they were “defiant”.

He said a proper survey was impossible at this time. The other two main groups in Lebanon, the Christians and the Sunni Muslims, are much more divided in their attitude, said Mr Abdo, but there too, the anger at the rising death toll and the damage to the country’s infrastructure is great.

The Israeli strikes on Wednesday for the first time hit the heart of Beirut’s Christian neighbourhoods, when several trucks carrying drilling equipment were targeted. Defence experts say the trucks can easily be mistaken for missile launchers on radar images." ...

Ferry Biedermann and Sharmila Devi "Lebanon has worst day as 58 die in raids" The Financial Times July 19, 2006

Lebanese woman at the scene of an Israeli attack in Ghazie, south of Sidon.

Photo credit: (c) Associated Press via Financial Times. With thanks.


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