Israeli Jets Kill 11, Wound 11 in Sunni North
Naharnet roundup for early Friday morning (summarizes original sources plus AP & AFP):
‘ Israeli jets pounded Beirut’s southern suburbs and two border crossings in north and east Lebanon early Friday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 11 others . . . The casualties were near the Abboudiyeh border crossing into Syria where Israeli jets struck twice at a busy bridge, security officials said.
At least 20 explosions also reverberated in central Beirut as thick black smoke rose from the suburb of Dahieh . . .
At U.N. headquarters in New York — amid talk a deal was imminent on a permanent halt to hostilities — Russia lost patience and presented its own draft resolution calling for a 72-hour humanitarian truce. However, Israel quickly rejected it.
In the south, Israeli forces which took over the border town of Marjayoun Thursday, agreed to release 350 members of a joint army and police force who were being held at the army barracks there.
Israeli fighter bombers shot missiles at the Haita bridge leading to the Abboudiyeh crossing in the Akkar plain, near the border with Syria, and returned for a second strike when residents had gone onto the bridge to inspect the damage. . .
There is now only one road into Syria from Lebanon still open for foreigners and locals wishing to flee the violence.
Thursday evening, Naharnet had reported:
‘ missiles from Israeli helicopter gunships blasted the top of a historic lighthouse in central Beirut in an apparent attempt to knock out a broadcast antenna for Lebanese state television. . . ‘
[Update & corr.]This was the first Israeli strike on West Beirut. Hizbullah leader Hasan Nasrallah had earlier threatened that any attack on downtown would bring retribution on Tel Aviv. The lighthouse wasn’t downtown, but was well beyond the ‘security perimeter’ of Hizbullah in south Beirut and Arabic cable television speculated whether this attack would set Nasrallah off.
More from Naharnet on Thursday’s events::
‘ In Ibl el-Saqi, a village about 3 km east of Marjayoun, the mayor said nearly all residents had fled to the north. “They all left this morning. There was very intense shelling last night,” said Riad Abou Samra. But it seemed fewer and fewer areas of Lebanon were safe from the threat of Israeli attacks, including the relatively untouched heart of Beirut. Hundreds of families were leaving the 3 areas in Beirut’s southern suburbs, after the warning, some in cars and others on state-owned buses to the Armenian quarter of Bourj Hammoud further north. . .’
Former DIA head for the Middle East Pat Lang makes fascinating and experienced observations on the military side in the deep south:
‘ I hear that the Israelis have been engaged so far with “village reserves,” and that they have not yet met the standing forces of HA. This echeloning of categories of forces sounds a lot like the Viet Minh/NVA/VC politico-military set up. Other revolutionary armies?
This is not guerrilla war. Forget that. This is positional warfare waged using field fortifications as the base and pivot so that a heavier force advancing into the “grid” of the defense can be engaged and defeated by attrition. So far, they are doing quite a job. A force in the process of evolution is what I would call HA [Hizbullah]. ‘
Then there is this with further analysis of points made by Zeev Schiff on Hizbullah’s hidden bunkers (with electricity) and resiliency and professional comportment (in a way trained by the Israeli army (conflict) as much as by Iran (friendship).
Did Bush overrule Condi on support of continued Israeli bombing? Was she “furious” with the Israelis when the Qana massacred torpedoed her diplomatic mission to the region?
Did Cheney, Rumsfeld, Elliot Abrams and other neocons pressure Israel to open another front against Syria as part of the war on Hizbullah? Did the Israeli political and military elite tell the neocons they were nuts?
The Right blogosphere is all agog about the news that a Reuters photographer photoshopped a picture of the Israelis bombing Beirut to put in some more smoke or something. That was dishonest and condemnable. But do the rightwingers really think that the Israelis haven’t inflicted massive damage on Lebanon with bombing? Here are large numbers of undoctored pictures for them (warning: graphic!) since they want the unadorned truth.