Israelis Kill 7 Civilians in Massive Air Raids
on Beirut, South, Baalbak
Hizbullah Rockets Kill 8 Civilians in Israel
Israel resumed a heavy bombardment of South Beirut on Thursday, hitting al-Awza’i 24 times in the space of two hours. There are no Hizbullah facilities in al-Awza’i, according to LBC (a Christian-owned Lebanese satellite channel). AFP says that Israeli war planes fired missiles at “the Rweiss and Haret-Hreik districts in south Beirut, police said. Rweiss, which had initially been spared, was first targeted the previous night after a week’s respite in strikes on the capital’s suburbs. Haret-Hreik and Bir al-Abed, where Hezbollah’s headquarters is located, were pounded for two weeks and are in ruins.”
Israel also conducted air raids on Tyre and Nabatiyah in the south and on Baalbak in the Biqa’.
What Baalbak really looks like after the Israeli raid.
Israeli airstrikes on a series of southern villages left 7 civilians dead and provoked further outrage in the Muslim world.
Hasan Nasrallah issued a videotape on Thursday in which he threatened to send rockets on Tel Aviv if the Israelis bombed Beirut again.
I saw the speech on satellite in Arabic Nasrallah also appealed to the Muslim masses over the heads of their rulers. And, he told the Arab leaders that they are not going to be able to keep their positions in America’s “New Middle East.” They will be overthrown, he said, and their countries will be reduced to chaos and split up into small postage stamp countries. (He appeared to be reasoning on the basis of what the US has done to Iraq).
‘ “Let my words be clear, any attack on Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, will result in Hizbullah bombarding the Zionist entity’s capital, Tel Aviv . . . We are ready to keep the whole thing restricted to a military fight with the Israeli Army, on the ground, fighters to fighters . . .”
“Our fight with the Israeli Army is based on the tactic of street fights against an organized army. This means we hit and run without holding our positions,” Nasrallah said. “The Israelis claimed they had heavy clashes with our fighters resulting in the taking over of a Hizbullah post in the southern town of al-Abbad. The truth is our fighters had left the post when the aggression first started three weeks ago. I don’t know with whom the Israelis had heavy clashes there . . .”
“In an attempt to identify himself with former Israeli leaders such as [Ariel] Sharon and [Yitzhak[ Rabin and [Menachem[ Began, he [Olmert] succeeded in matching their accomplishments in committing massacres and killing civilians, women and children, but failed miserably in proving himself as a political leader . . . [he is] an incompetent moron.”
Nasrallah mocked the “stupid, massive and ignorant Israeli military machine . . . [the] “clearest examples are the 300 rockets which we launched on Israel [Wednesday].”
‘ Nasrallah said the only solution to the crisis “is through a direct cease-fire, an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territories and … a political remedy.” ‘
Israeli television quoted a high Israeli military official saying in response that if Tel Aviv is hit, all of Lebanese infrastructure will be destroyed. AFP doesn’t state the man’s name, but he needs to read the Geneva Conventions. If he follows through on this threat, having explicitly made it, I hope that some civilized European country finds a way to try him for war crimes. Hitting non-military infrastructure necessary to civilian life is tantamount to murder.
Fuel is running low in Beirut, threatening hospital services.
Israel stopped the delivery of fuel shipments to Lebanon on Thursday.
Even among the Israeli special ops, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. A fourteen year old tells his terrifying story of being kidnapped by Israeli soldiers because of his last name.
Hizbullah again rained rockets down on northern Israel, killing 8 innocent civilians, three of them young Palestinian-Israeli men. Nasrallah fancies himself a statesman and guerrilla fighter, but nothing could be more cowardly than to kill ordinary people on the street or in their cars. The indiscriminate character of his bombardments is demonstrated by his penchant for managing to kill so many Palestinian Israelis. Nasrallah is not the head of a state and has no recognized authority to wage war, and so is just a common serial murderer.
Hizbullah also killed 4 Israeli soldiers on Thursday as the latter continued their ground offensive into southern Lebanon.
It falls to France, Egypt and Jordan to play the grownups and try to get a cessation of military hostilities.
Jim Lobe of Interpress Service surveys the wreckage of Bush’s Middle East policy and finds it unedifying.
The death toll in the Qana massacre is now estimated at 28 with 13 missing by HRW. Since the 13 missing are almost certainly dead, the toll is 41 rather than 60. It is still a horrific massacre.