More Bodies Found In Shiyah Rubble

More Bodies Found in Shiyah Rubble
Hizbullah Kills 15 Israeli Troops
Hizbullah Accepts Leb. Gov. Plan

Shaikh Hasan Nasrallah, Secretary General of the Hizbullah Party, made a long videotaped statement released on Wednesday.

Nasrallah said he approved of the plan passed by the Lebanese cabinet headed by PM Fouad Siniora, to send 15,000 Lebanese troops down south to secure the border region for Lebanon. Nasrallah threatened to make Lebanon a graveyard for Israeli soldiers on Lebanese soil. And he called on the Palestinian-Israelis of Haifa to leave the city (presumably in preparation for Hizbullah intensively bombing it).

French President Jacques Chirac is threatening to present an independent French draft proposal for arriving at a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah, if the US continues to obstruct this effort. Chirac says that Lebanese and Arab concerns that the initial US-French draft proposal gave away the store to the Israelis should be taken seriously.

Events of Wednesday in the Israeli war on Lebanon:
NaharNet morning roundup:

‘ An Israeli strike on the Ain al Hilweh camp in the port city of Sidon early Wednesday killed at least two people and wounded 15, including five children, medics said. . . ‘

About one third of the deaths in this war have been children under 12 years of age. [One Israeli shell hit the amusement park at Sidon, an obvious hotbed of terrorism.]

‘ Another strike targeted the house of Hizbullah political member Hassan Sader in the Bekaa Valley town of Mashghara, security officials said. Sader, his wife and his five children died under the rubble when their four-story building collapsed in the bombing, they said.

Fighter-bombers also made three raids in the Akkar highlands bordering Syria in north Lebanon, pounding roads and the Arqa bridge which had already been destroyed in air raids last week . . .

So many bodies have been being pulled out of buildings collapsed by Israeli air raids that the civilian death toll is rising alarmingly. In retrospect it is now clear that over 70 persons were killed on Monday, among the highest one-day tolls.

The midday roundup for Wednesday from NaharNet:

‘ Meanwhile, additional bodies were pulled out from under the rubble of a building in Beirut’s southern district of Shiah, destroyed Monday by an Israeli airstrike, raising the death toll to 41, security officials said. The number of wounded in that attack are 61, they added. . .

Also in the Bekaa, an airstrike cut the main Baalbeck-Homs road where it runs near the village of Qaa, severing one of the few remaining links connecting the country with the outside world. . . ‘

AFP says that Israel launched a new land offensive:

‘ Ground troops backed by armoured cars moved into south Lebanon late Wednesday from Israel’s northeastern panhandle, the privately run Channel 10 television said. . . “Our forces are currently carrying out a limited operation against Hezbollah positions in Khiam from which they fired more than 60 Katyusha rockets against the town of Kiryat Shmona and the panhandle,” the [Israeli] spokesman said. . .

Lebanese police said around a thousand shells struck the Khiam area. . .

Further west, fierce clashes were raging between Israeli ground troops and Hezbollah for control of a strategic hilltop overlooking the southern port of Tyre, Lebanese police said. Troops backed by tanks were advancing on the hilltop known as Al-Hardan, near the village of Jibbain, some five kilometres (three miles) from the border, the police said. ‘

In these clashes, Hizbullah killed 15 Israeli soldiers and wounded 38. It is the highest one-day total of the war.

Hizbullah fired another 100 or so small katyusha rockets at northern Israeli towns Wednesday. But they don’t appear to have injured or killed anyone or even to have done significant property damage. These rockets cannot be targeted with any precision, and most lack the firepower of a single Israeli artillery shell. Some katyushas fell on the Palestinian West Bank. Evacuation of Israeli populations in the north continued, according to satellite television. The Israelis fired 1,000 shells at Khiam alone on Wednesday.

The other casualties of war are businesses and the economy, the Daily Star says:

‘ The Israeli offensive against Lebanon, now in its fourth week, has destroyed more than 900 small- and medium-size enterprises, officials say, with an estimated $200 million in material damage. In Beirut’s southern suburbs, which have borne the brunt of the Israeli air strikes, traders said that over 300 shops and establishments have been razed. “Nearly all shops and establishments in all the villages in the South that are close to the Israeli border received direct hits from the artillery and planes,” one merchant said. The Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) said in its second report on the subject that the total cost of material damages were close to $2.5 billion, including bridges, roads, public utilities, industrial plants and private establishments. ‘

Arab satellite television showed workers pulling crushed and bloody bodies, including children, from the rubble of the building collapsed by an Israeli air raid on Monday:

‘ They were together at the time of the Israeli strike. Their bodies now lie next to each other at the same cemetery, all covered in white cloth, placed in plastic bags and wrapped in Lebanese flags. “The martyr child Hussein Ali Wehbi,” reads the writing in black over the bag wrapping a small dead body. Next to him were 15 corpses from the Remaiti family which owned the residential building levelled by Monday’s attack on the Shi’ite Muslim Shiyah district in Beirut’s southern suburb. . . Behind him, dozens of mourners, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”, marched to lay the dead at their final resting place. ‘

Shiyah is not a Hizbullah stronghold. Most people there vote for the more middle class, moderate Amal Party. Or did.

Ahmad Samih Khalidi on the Israeli war as a threat to the existence of Lebanon.

Susie Madrak rules.

A negotiator with Hizbullah.

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