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Friday, July 14, 2006

Sleepless in Dahiya (South Beirut)

Good morning everyone. If anyone is reading this in Dahiya and is willing to talk to an American Israeli Jew, I would love to hear from you. Put your email address in the comments section and I will contact you.

IAF jets bombed South Beirut early this morning, hitting a large fuel storage tank and a power station in the southern suburbs of Beirut, which are a Hezbullah stronghold.

At least seven missiles were heard in the attack on south Beirut in the hours before dawn on Friday, according to an AP photographer, reporter and other witnesses. Anti-aircraft fire from the ground echoed in other suburbs of Beirut as the planes roared over the Lebanese capital.

The planes destroyed a bridge and the fuel storage tanks of the Jiyyeh power plant south of the city. YNet is reporting that three people were killed and twenty were wounded in the strikes. Lebanese sources also claim that the jets struck the highway between Beirut International Airport and South Lebanon. The Jerusalem Post says that the fuel plant is just north of Sidon, on the central coast. Having never been to Lebanon, I cannot tell you where it is, nor whether it is closer to Beirut or to Sidon.

Other reports said that a playground that is frequently the site of Hezbullah rallies was also targeted.

HaAretz notes that Israeli officials have said that south Beirut, a densely populated neighborhood of Shiite Muslims where Hezbollah has its political headquarters, could be targeted. Leaflets dropped in the evening warned people to stay away from Hezbollah offices. According to YNet, the Arabic-language leaflets said, "For your own safety and because of our desire not to harm any civilians who are not involved (with Hizbullah), you should refrain from staying in areas where Hizbullah is present and operating." The leaflets were signed "The State of Israel".

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has his office and residence in the district of Haret Hreik in south Beirut. Hezbullah's Shura Council, its decision-making body, and the TV station are also located in that area, a section heavily guarded by Hezbullah.

The Jerusalem Post notes that Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV said there were several injuries from the attacks, which started fires in the area. Some of the wounded were hit in their apartments by flying glass. I guess apartment buildings in Beirut don't have bomb shelters. That would be surprising. More likely, people were not warned to sleep in the bomb shelters.

Lebanese police officials, who were speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed the air raid. The IDF has confirmed it as well.

Late Thursday night, three people were reportedly killed when the IAF bombed the Beirut-Damascus highway, closing Lebanon's main artery. The IDF had hit the same highway in five different places during the day on Thursday.

The Jerusalem Post reports that fighter jets attacked a highway section high in the mountains of central Lebanon, in Mdeirej. But the targeted area was an old road extension, and the bridge on the nearby main highway apparently remained intact.

Another airstrike apparently targeted the main bridge's exit. Authorities turned back motorists, who will have to take long detours through other winding mountain roads.

Because of the darkness, authorities will not be able to assess the damage to the highway until this morning (it's been light here for about an hour and a half now). Authorities said they were turning back motorists as a precautionary measure.

The IDF has confirmed that it attacked the highway.

The IDF decided to attack Dahiya - which is now regarded as the main target for the next 24 hours - after Hezbullah shot what the army describes as "a simple upgraded Katyusha" at Haifa, which is beyond the range of ordinary Katyushas. Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel. The IDF knows that Hezbullah has thousands of Katyushas and wishes to discourage them from using them.

The IDF rejected Hezbullah's claim last night that it was not responsible for the Katyusha attack on Haifa and for an earlier one on Carmiel.

I want to tell you all about the Lebanese reaction to all this, but I'm afraid that if I do it in this post, the post will be too long, and too many people will miss it. So that will go in the next post.


At 4:11 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Carl, if you want to talk to someone in the USA, my email address is ssledge@wcsr.com. I'm not Jewish, I'm Catholic, but I'm 110% behind Israel and have been for years. Besides, wasn't the Catholic Church founded by a Jewish carpenter? Shalom.


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