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Robert Fisk in Beirut: 'If our Prime Minister is crying, what are we to do?'
by UK Independent (reposted)
Sunday Jul 16th, 2006 5:16 PM
You could see the Israeli missiles coming through the clouds of smoke, hurtling like thunderbolts into the apartment blocks of Ghobeiri, the crack of the explosions so loud that my ears are still singing hours later as I write this report.
Yes, I suppose you could call this a "terrorist" target, for here in these mean, fearful streets is - or rather was - the Hizbollah headquarters. Even the movement's propaganda television station, Al-Manar, lay a pancaked ruin in the street, its broadcasts still being transmitted from the station's bunker beneath the rubble. But what of the tens of thousands of people who live here?

by UK Independent (reposted)
Sunday Jul 16th, 2006 5:17 PM
Yesterday was another black day for the Middle East. Israel ordered fresh air strikes on southern Lebanon and stepped up operations in Gaza. Hizbollah rockets slammed into the Israeli coastal city of Haifa. A British aircraft carrier was dispatched to evacuate Britons stranded in Lebanon. A full-scale regional war seems an increasingly possible outcome.

What the evolution of this crisis demonstrates is that a "show of force" in this volatile region can never be justified. The desire of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to prove his credentials as a strong leader was what lay behind Israel's move into Gaza. It was also behind the bombing of Beirut international airport. But all Mr Olmert has succeeded in doing is painting his government into a corner. Each act of violence by the Israeli military has so far been met with an equally violent response. Neither Hamas nor Hizbollah has surrendered in the face of Israel's overwhelming military superiority. And who can now predict where this will end? Are we to see Israeli troops in southern Lebanon once again? Israel claims the strings of Hamas and Hizbollah are being pulled in Damascus and Tehran. Does that mean air strikes on Syria - or even Iran - are a possibility?

by UK Independent (reposted)
Sunday Jul 16th, 2006 5:17 PM
Yossi Amergi, a 46-year-old mechanic lay in the emergency ward of Haifa's Rambam hospital, tubes sticking out of his arm, raw skin showing through a bandage on his right leg.

A few hours earlier eight of his workmates were killed by a rocket that burst through the corrugated iron roof of their railway maintenance depot, sending arc lights crashing, splintering carriage windows and covering the concrete platforms with gore.

He was one of the 28 people wounded, five of them seriously, in the worst aerial attack on Israel's third largest city since Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles in 1991.

"I heard a boom," he recalled. "My ears were bursting; blood was spurting from my leg. I lost friends, Jews and Arabs who worked together."

Just as we arrived at the hospital, a siren sounded, the promised one-minute warning of another Hizbollah attack. We took cover under concrete steps and waited for the boom which never came. Apparently, that rocket landed in the sea.