9 Israeli Troops Killed
Israel Bombs Lebanese Army
The Israelis launched a new wave of bombing attacks on Thursday morning:
‘ Israeli military aircraft bombed a Lebanese army base in the Amsheet area north of Beirut and destroyed a radio relay station in the area, local media reported, citing Lebanese military sources. Meanwhile, Israel warplanes also struck areas in south Lebanon. . .’
The Israeli official line is that they are only fighting Hizbullah and that the huge number of civilian casualties is an accident. But why are they bombing the regular Lebanese army north of Beirut if their real enemy is Hizbullah, a southern Shiite paramilitary? Why are they bombing radio relay stations?
Note that the only way this conflict can end is for the Lebanese state to be strengthened so that it has a hope of dealing with Hizbullah. Uh, these actions are not, like, strengthening the Lebanese state.
An Israeli air strike ‘hit a truck carrying medical and food supplies donated to Lebanon by the United Arab Emirates, killing its Syrian driver and wounding two others, security sources said. The truck was destroyed just a few kilometres from Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria in the town of Anjar. ‘
A truck full of medical and food supplies?
China strongly condemned the Israeli air strike on a United Nations peacekeeping base, which left a Chinse soldier dead. President Hu Jintao also called for an immediate ceasefire.
The senior Irish officer in UNIFIL had warned the Israelis 6 times that they were striking too close to the UN base. After the Israelis had killed 4 UN soldiers, Egyptian UN troops were sent in to retrieve the bodies. The Israelis fired on them, too. International law stipulates that those who kill UN peacekeepers can be extradited and tried for the crime.
The true number of Israeli toops killed Wednesday fighing Hizbullah in the south was 9. 8 were killed in the house to house battle for Bint Jbeil, which the Israelis had announced that they had captured the previous day. The Israelis are now claiming to have killed 250 Hizbullah fighters in the south, but no independent observer puts the number so high. The poor performance of the Israeli army in taking two towns, one of them a village of 400 and now a small town of 30,000, has provoked a firestorm of criticism in the Israeli public.
Israeli ground operations in Gaza killed 23 persons on Wednesday, about half of them innocent civilians.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called on Israel to negotiate the return to lebanon of the Shebaa Farms area, Occupied since 1967.
The horror faced by Lebanese civilians in the border towns near Israel is revealed by the VOA:
‘Tehfa says the bombs are not the only danger. Yaroun is all but cut off from the outside world. “Plus, the people die without food. There is no water, no electricity, no gas. Nothing!” she added. Tehfa literally walked to safety, wearing a pair of black flip-flop sandals and carrying nothing but her shiny black handbag. After nearly two weeks under siege, she and a group of about 70 townspeople – waving a large white flag – walked six kilometers to the nearest village, a place called Rmeich. Another Australian, Fatima Salim, managed to find a car to take her to Rmeich, and then slept in a cramped apartment with 80 other people for three days. “I lost my mother, my brother, my sister-in-law. I do not know where they are gone,” she said. “Because I go out from one door, they go out from another door. And for one minute, I cannot see my parents. I do not know where they are.” ‘
The Number of internally displaced Lebanese, i.e. people reduced to homelessness by Israel’s war on Lebanon, has risen to an estimated 600,000, according to the UN.
France is willing to play a major role in any peacekeeping effort in southern Lebanon. But President Jacques Chirac opposes doing it under the rubric of NATO. He says it is viewed in the region as “the armed wing of the West.” How refreshing to find a president who both knows this and cares what Arabs think.
Hizbullah sent 10 rockets on Safed early Thursday morning. No word of any casualties. Over a dozen were said to have been wounded on Wednesday by dozens of Hizbullah rockets.