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Montreal Lebanese protest government's stand on attacks
by reposted
Monday Jul 17th, 2006 4:17 AM
MONTREAL: TORONTO -- About 1,000 members of Montreal's Lebanese community protested yesterday against the Harper government's stand on the Middle East conflict, marching in the city's downtown, past the Israeli consulate to a federal government building.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who had a hand in crafting a statement from G8 leaders yesterday that called on both sides in the conflict to release prisoners and halt their offensive actions, said on Thursday he believed Israel's response to a raid by Hezbollah into Israeli territory had been measured.

The mood among the protesters walking from Dominion Square to Complexe Guy-Favreau in the city's east end yesterday in the sweltering heat, brandishing Lebanese flags and denouncing Israel's "barbarous" attacks on their country, was one of stoic anger rather than rage.

"This is the biggest nonsense," Mazen El-Khairy, 67, said of Mr. Harper's statement. "What measured reaction? It's a shame we're following the United States in its block support of Israel."

Similar anger was shared by the Canadian Arab Federation. Khaled Mouammar, the national president of the federation, said his group and five others that had invited Public Security Minister Stockwell Day to join them at the Aug. 4 dinner have called off the event because of the "hostile" stand taken by the Prime Minister with regard to the current situation in the Middle East.

"This is outrageous. This is not what Canadians stood for in the past. Canada has always sought to be an objective mediator, but they're now imitating the American front with no conscience for Canadian lives," Mr. Mouammar said.

"These are Canadians being killed, and all Stephen Harper could say was the Israeli response was a measured one."

There are an estimated 135,000 Lebanese Canadians in the country, with the majority living in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

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Monday Jul 17th, 2006 4:18 AM
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Seven Canadians from the same Montreal family, including four young children, were killed in Lebanon on Sunday when Israeli aircraft bombed a house in the south of the country, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp said.

A Canadian foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed the deaths and said three people were hurt. But she said the incident happened when the house in the town of Aitaroun was shelled.

Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said Ottawa was sending ships to help evacuate up to 40,000 Canadians believed to be in Lebanon.

The CBC named the dead as Ali El-Akhras, his wife Amira and their four children aged one, four, six and eight. The seventh family member was Ali's uncle, also named Ali, who had moved to Montreal from Lebanon 15 years ago.

"It's not just us," the elder Ali's son Hassan El-Akhras told CBC. "There are a lot of civilians who have been killed. The streets are closed. I am asking the international community to help and put pressure on Israel to stop the bombing."

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Monday Jul 17th, 2006 4:19 AM
MONTREAL -- A Montreal family vacationing and visiting relatives was decimated yesterday as Israel continued its bombardment of southern Lebanon.

Huseein El-Akhrass told Sun Media one of his sisters, Freda; his aunt, 92; his cousin; and the wife of his nephew Ali along with their four children, Saja, Zeinab, Ahmad and Salam had been killed.

The Canadian children were aged one to seven. Ali grew up in Canada, studied at University of Montreal and is a local pharmacist.

"Why? Why?," said El-Akhrass.

"What crimes had they committed? What did these children do to deserve this? It's disgusting, it's unjust! It's three generations that disappeared.