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South Beirut suburb devastated
by ALJ
Friday Jul 21st, 2006 8:50 PM
After more than a week of heavy bombardment, south Beirut suburb Haret Hreik resembles a Hollywood-like scene of apocalypse.
As we drove through the rubble-strewn road in the predominantly residential area that also contains Hezbollah's main offices, the smell of smoke and acrid burning filled the air.

We had to wait for Ghassan, a Hezbollah media officer, to escort us.

The two minutes of waiting felt very long, an eerie, tense silence bearing testimony to the fact that Haret Hreik had become a ghost town.

To my relief, Ghassan showed up in a BMW with a driver and asked us to follow him.

Moments later, two young men riding a motorcycle emerged from out of nowhere and fired several warning shots in the air until the driver stopped.

They were security members of the Shia party and the group's media officer had to explain to them that he was showing journalists where the Israeli bombings had hit.

Hezbollah are on high alert for spies. On Wednesday, the party detained 26 people in the southern suburbs of Beirut to interrogate them on suspicion that they were marking buildings for Israel to shell.

Hard to recognise

It was hard to recognise Haret Hreik, with many buildings levelled. The few buildings which stood were blackened by the fires which raged within from bombs and missiles days earlier.

by Middle East Online (reposted)
Friday Jul 21st, 2006 9:25 PM
Four people killed in eastern town of Baalbek as Israel pounds Lebanon for the 10th day.

By Nayla Razzouk - BEIRUT

Israel waged deadly strikes against Lebanon for the 10th day Friday and mobilised more troops after warning it could launch a full-scale ground invasion - despite mounting international calls for a ceasefire.

"The army called up several thousand reserves in order to strengthen our forces against Hezbollah," a military source said after the army again warned residents of bomb-hit southern Lebanon to flee.

Beirut said its army was ready to go into battle if Israel invaded, an action that would sharply raise the stakes in a conflict that has killed close to 340 people in Lebanon and raised fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Waving white scarves, residents of the south streamed to safer havens in the north as buses and boats continued to ferry thousands of foreigners out of Lebanon in one of the biggest mass evacuations since World War II.

Israeli combat jets and artillery were back in action in raids that killed four people in the eastern town of Baalbek - a Hezbollah stronghold near the site of ancient Roman temple ruins - and one in the southern port city of Tyre.