Dahr Jamail: Israel targets mainly civilians


Richard Moore

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Subject: Iraq Dispatches: Fleeing Lebanese Speak of Indiscriminate Bombing

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **

      Fleeing Lebanese Speak of Indiscriminate Bombing

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail

ADDABBAOUSIYEH (northern Lebanese border), Jul 16 (IPS) - People fleeing the 
bombing of Lebanon say the Israelis are targeting civilian neighbourhoods and 
vital infrastructure, and not just Hezbollah centres.*

The bombing has killed more than 100 Lebanese civilians so far.

Several border points between Syria and Lebanon are being deluged with refugees.
Lebanon has a long border with Syria towards its south, east and north. The 
refugees include both Lebanese and tourists.

"Everything is being bombed," a teacher from the United States who was on 
vacation in Beirut told IPS. "It's terror. We've literally been terrorised."

Twenty-five-year-old social studies teacher Abdul Rahman was living with his 
family in downtown Beirut near the United Nations building before they all 
decided to flee.

"We have not slept for three days because we were living in terror and never 
knew when the Israelis would bomb us since they were hitting everything," he 
told IPS.

"If they want to hit Hezbollah, let them hit Hezbollah, but not the civilians. 
But civilians are all that they are hitting."

His mother feared for her 96-year-old father who they had to leave behind. "We 
cannot move him because he is too frail," she said. "And now all we can do is 
worry, since the Israelis are taking it out on the innocent people."

On Sunday, the Israeli army also re-entered the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip. 
According to reports from Gaza, three members of Hamas were killed after Israeli
tanks and bulldozers entered Beit Hanun town early morning.

Gunfire and shelling by the Israelis is also reported to have killed a 
75-year-old woman and wounded 10 others, along with a baby.

Israel launched several air strikes in Gaza as well. An Israeli army spokeswoman
claimed they destroyed a Hamas operations room in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

Israel's stated goal in Gaza is to free a soldier captured by Hamas. So far 
Israeli actions there have left one Israeli soldier dead, along with 82 

Hamas is demanding the release of prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for 
the Israeli soldier.

Israel is now embroiled in fighting on two fronts. The impact of the fighting 
with Lebanon is being felt widely in Syria.

Abud Aziz, a 31-year-old Lebanese pastry chef from Beirut crossed the border 
into Syria carrying his suitcase and looking for food and water. There had been 
no water or electricity in Beirut since Saturday, he said.

"Yesterday I saw two hospitals bombed," he told IPS. "Nobody who remains in 
Beirut can be safe. No way."

A 25-year-old construction worker named Hamed also said he saw warplanes bomb a 
hospital in Beirut.

"I saw them bomb a hospital yesterday," he told IPS. "I left just hours ago. 
They are bombing everything -- houses, casinos, fuel stations and so many 

Meanwhile, on Sunday Hezbollah fired more than 20 rockets into the city of 
Haifa, Israel's third largest city, killing eight and wounding at least a dozen.

The Hezbollah clearly have the means to strike back at Israel. They are a 
well-armed and well-organised political and military group of Shia Muslims in 
Lebanon. Sustained military attacks by the Hezbollah forced Israel to vacate 
southern Lebanon in May 2000.

But the Hezbollah are not supported by all Lebanese. About 60 percent of the 3.8
million population of Lebanon is Muslim, most of them Shia. This is where 
Hezbollah draws its support.

The rest of the population is almost all Christian. A 15-year civil war between 
Muslim and Christian groups ended in 1991. The Hezbollah are believed to draw 
more support from outside the country than from many within.

In the wake of Hezbollah strikes into Israel, Israeli authorities have declared 
a 48-hour period of martial law over the northern part of the country. Hezbollah
groups have fired more than 400 rockets into Israel, killing at least 16 
civilians in the last five days.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Lebanon of "far-reaching" consequences
after the rocket attacks. The Israeli army said that it had warned all civilians
to leave southern Lebanon.

Many of those who have left report panic conditions in Lebanon. "The Israelis 
bombed a bridge to the airport near us and killed many people," 26-year-old 
Hasna told IPS. "When other people went on the bridge to help the wounded, the 
planes bombed it again."

Ambulances are usually not available because of the danger, she said. "We were 
the last people to leave our area. The road there was nearly empty."

Alham Aras, a Danish woman who was vacationing in Tripoli in Lebanon, drove up 
to the border with her six children Sunday. She said she had left on 
instructions from her embassy.

"The warplanes bombed the Palestinian camps in Tripoli," she said, "They are 
attacking up and down the coast, and the port in Tripoli was also attacked."

Her 14-year-old daughter Barihan al-Jassim said, "Somebody should stop this 
madness. How is it possible for a country to be bombed like this and nobody 
stops them from doing it?"

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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