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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Red Cross helping Hezbullah

The New York Times and the Washington Post both report this morning that the Red Cross is taking UNIFIL's attitude and is treating Hezbullah terrorists in southern Lebanon.

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs
The wounded men moved slowly across the hot patch of cratered earth. Some limped. One used crutches. Two carried their own intravenous bags.

The secret war being waged by shadow militia fighters against the Israeli Army from the mountains of southern Lebanon came into sharp focus on Wednesday near a gnarled tree trunk that serves as the only remaining crossing on the Litani River, which divides most of Lebanon from the war in the south.

The wounded — Hezbollah fighters, an emergency worker said — shuffled gingerly toward the crossing, their faces exhausted and drawn. They were leaving, at least for now, the front lines of a war that has won them broad support among local people here and frustrated the Israeli military for weeks.

“I don’t know a thing,” said Yusef Rafaai, a local emergency worker who was helping the men. “I know they’re Lebanese. More than that, I don’t know.”

The river and its crossings, all makeshift since the Israelis blew up the last bridge a few days ago, have pushed even the most secretive activities into the open, offering an unusual view of this ordinarily hidden guerrilla war.

In addition to the fighters, bread, canned tuna, sardines and processed cheese — donations from Iran — were being carried across, with help from local Lebanese who support Hezbollah, to cars and trucks waiting on the other side. The Israeli bombing, which had gouged huge craters out of the area around the river, had not yet broken supply lines.

Despite Israeli bombardments, Hezbollah continues to operate. In some areas, it does so in open view of Israeli drones that whine overhead in the brilliant afternoon sky.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., in a large, open dirt field, cut with giant craters from Israeli bombs, five ghostly fighters became ordinary wounded men. More than anything, the men did not want their photographs taken, afraid of revealing anything that might help Israel bomb them.

One covered his face with his T-shirt, in the style of a movie star avoiding paparazzi. Another, in a neck brace, put on sunglasses. Three emergency workers told journalists not to take pictures.

“No pictures,” said a fighter, hobbling on crutches with a white bandage on his left foot.


At least five Lebanese Red Cross workers in orange suits helped the fighters. They carried plastic bags of belongings, offered shoulders to lean on and spoke words of encouragement when the wounded men confronted the tree crossing. They looked for an easier way across, one of them even wading out into the water, but eventually settled on the tree.

The man on crutches hopped gracefully on his right leg in a white plastic sandal.

“Don’t worry,” one worker said. “No one is going to take pictures.”

He felt his way to the end of the tree, after stumbling slightly at the beginning.

“You can do it, you’re a tough guy,” said another worker, encouraging him.

The ambulance driver, Haidar Azzedine, said that the men had come from Jabal Amel Hospital in Tyre, a town six miles to the south, and that they were being moved to clear out bed space. Sami Yazbek, the head of the Red Cross in Tyre, said the men were fighters.

“There’s somebody who will get angry if you take pictures,” Mr. Azzedine said. “No pictures at all.”

Everyone, it seems, was pitching in to help. Later in the afternoon, municipal emergency workers from Tyre packed clear plastic bags of flat bread into the back of a van. The code of secrecy still applied.

“You take pictures of us and they’ll hit us,” said one worker, who gave only his Lebanese nickname, Abu Ahmed.

Then, in English: “I’m very, very sorry. Camera, dangerous.”

And you wonder why the Red Cross hasn't bothered to visit the Israeli prisoners?


At 10:24 AM, Blogger Jhn1 said...

It looks like it gets even "better". (for Hez anyway)
The "We Can Surrender Enough to Have Peace" party has declared a 2-3 day unilateral cease fire.


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