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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hezbollah's deadly hold on heartland

This article is unusually blunt for the mainstream media (okay, it's Canada, not the US). It gives you some idea of how and why Israel has to shoot at homes and hospitals. And by the way, it's allowed under the 4th Geneva Convention. Note what they say about the Red Cross finding rocket launchers right near the building that 'collapsed' in Qana last Sunday. I have not seen that anywhere else in the MSM. Are there really any civilians in Southern Lebanon?

Hat Tip: Gulf Coast Pundit

When Dr. Fouad Fatah emerged bleary-eyed from the ruins of his hospital during a pause in Israeli air strikes last week, it felt like the first time in forever.

He counted himself as the last living soul in the five-room clinic, the only hospital serving this devastated swath of Lebanon's south. His surviving patients had already been evacuated.

The surgeon led a group of journalists over what remained: mangled debris, shredded walls and a roof punched through by an Israeli shell.

"Look what they did to this place," Dr. Fatah said, shaking his head. "Why in the world would the Israelis target a hospital?"

The probable answer was found a few hours later in a field nearby. Hidden in the tall grass were the burned remnants of a rocket-launcher.

Confronted with the evidence, Dr. Fatah admitted his hospital could have been used as a site from which to fire rockets into Israel.


Military experts say that over the past five years, Hezbollah fighters have steadily stockpiled weapons funnelled from Iran and Syria. They buried rockets in tunnels, houses and, according to Israeli officials, in hospitals.

U.S. military experts believe Hezbollah has rockets ranging in number from several thousand to tens of thousands.

"We've been preparing ourselves for this fight for the last five years. We can fight this for much longer," said Abu Ismail, a local Hezbollah leader near the village of Bint Jbeil who uses a nom de guerre, like most of his fellow fighters.

Residents of the cluster of villages closest to the Israeli border, Hezbollah's most loyal supporters, helped stow the weapons away.

But as the conflict continues, there is an undercurrent of anger among some residents.

"Hezbollah are using [us] as human shields," said Rima Khouri, gesturing overhead as Israeli warplanes sliced through the sky.

The Lebanese Christian woman fled from her village of Ain Abel to one of the swelling refugee shelters in the city of Tyre.

She was one of few people to speak freely about her anger at Hezbollah and their strategy of firing rockets into Israel from civilian areas.

"Their protection comes with a heavy price. We want nothing to do with them," she said.

Nasser Kareem shared her sentiments.

During a pitched battle in his village of Bint Jbeil last Thursday, the 48-year-old dentist watched from his kitchen window as Hezbollah fighters dragged a rocket launcher across the torn street in front of his house.

A few minutes later, he heard four successive blasts. Kareem barely managed to cover his four-year-old son's ears before the rockets were fired. His own ears are still ringing.

"Five minutes after they fired the rockets, the Israelis started bombing," he recalled from the safety of a shelter in Beirut.

"They are making us magnets for the Israelis," he said.


Local officials said there were no weapons or rockets in the house where the children slept in Qana, no warning before the bomb fell.

But the next day, the same Lebanese Red Cross team that dug out the children's bodies stumbled across the shreds of more rocket launchers in a village nearby.

One was found deep inside a fruit orchard. Another was found wedged between two houses.
Read the whole thing.


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