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Author Topic: Israel, the mid-east, and Russia - Part 2  (Read 20098 times)
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« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2006, 04:22:48 PM »

Regional war feared as Lebanon crisis worsens

Israel has intensified its relentless bombardment of Lebanon, destroying the Beirut headquarters of the Hezbollah leader and pounding the country's ports amid growing fears the conflict could spiral into regional war.

Eighteen civilians, including children, were burnt alive when a helicopter gunship hit a convoy of families fleeing an offensive that has left the country almost cut off from the outside world and waking up each day to new scenes of devastation.

Israel killed at least 34 civilians on Saturday, including 15 children, bringing the death toll over four days to 103 people - all but four of them civilians.

With missiles also slamming into no-man's land between Lebanon and Syria, Russia warned that there was a "real threat" that the fiercest conflict between the two neighbours in a decade could engulf other nations.

"There is a real threat of the involvement of other states in this conflict," Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said ahead of a G8 summit of world leaders in Saint Petersburg likely to be dominated by the crisis.

In an emotional televised address to the nation, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora called for an immediate ceasefire and the end to the "collective punishment" of his country.

Splits have emerged within the international community, with some United Nations Security Council members rebuking Israel for "disproportionate" use of force but the US President George W Bush insisting the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah stop its attacks.

"Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and that's why we have violence," he said.

"The best way to stop the violence is for Hezbollah to lay down its arms to stop attacking."

But the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, does not agree; he described Israel's concerns as legitimate but said its response was disproportionate.

Mr Putin called for an immediate ceasefire.
Arab League

The crisis also prompted Arab League chief Amr Mussa to declare the Middle East peace process "dead" after an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers over the Israeli offensives against Lebanon and Gaza.

Israel extended its offensive to bombing grain silos the ports of Beirut and Tripoli as well as the harbour in the city of Jounieh, the latter the first strike yet on a mainly Christian area.

UN and hospital sources said 18 civilians, including nine children, were burnt alive when missiles from an Israeli helicopter gunship slammed into a convoy of residents fleeing border villages in south Lebanon.

The Israeli military expressed regret over the civilian casualties but said it targeted an area used as a missile launch ground by Hezbollah who must take responsibility for "endangering the civilian population".
Hezbollah building destroyed

War planes struck again at the headquarters of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut's southern suburbs, destroying the nine-storey building and causing panic in surrounding streets.

It was not clear whether Nasrallah - who declared "open war" on Israel after a similar attack on his headquarters and home on Friday - was in the building at the time.

"We will wipe him out at the first opportunity. That's why he had better pray to Allah," Israeli cabinet minister Zeev Boim warned.

The newly built lighthouse on the seafront in Beirut was also bombarded, while the military said it attacked the Beirut headquarters of Hamas - the first time the Palestinian militant group has been targeted in this offensive.

The four days of raids have left near-apocalyptic scenes of power stations burning, black smoke billowing from the paralysed airport, roads riddled with craters and collapsed bridges.
Syria

In another unprecedented action, an Israeli fighter bomber fired four missiles about 200 metres beyond Masnaa, the main crossing point between Lebanon and Syria, Lebanese police said.

But the Syrian Government denied its territory had been hit and Israel's head of military operations General Gadi Azincot said later that Syria was "not an objective of our operation".

As a fresh barrage of guerrilla rockets rained on northern Israel - including for the first time the Galilee town of Tiberias - Israel warned that Hezbollah could strike as far as the commercial capital Tel Aviv.

Four Israelis have been killed and scores wounded, sending tens of thousands of residents into bomb shelters or fortified rooms.

And the military said it had deployed a battery of anti-missile Patriot missiles in its third largest city of Haifa, which was hit by a Hezbollah rocket attack on Thursday.
Israel recovers sailor's body

Israel recovered the body of one of four sailors missing from a ship which was damaged while patrolling off Lebanon on Friday; it said the ship was attacked by an Iranian-made rocket.

The death brings to nine the number of servicemen killed since Wednesday. Iran denied any involvement.

Israel's onslaught was unleashed after Hezbollah guerrillas snatched two soldiers on Wednesday, opening up a new battleground following a similar deadly offensive against Gaza over the capture of another soldier by Palestinian militants three weeks ago.

Lebanon remained virtually cut off from the outside world after Israel imposed an air and sea blockade, launched repeated strikes on its only international airport and bombed the main highway to Syria.

As foreign governments sought to evacuate stranded nationals, Beirut residents were stocking up on basic goods and making plans to flee to the relative safety of the mountains outside the capital.

Israel also pressed on with its air assault on Gaza on Saturday, killing two Palestinians in helicopter strikes after the US on Thursday vetoed a UN resolution calling on Israel to halt its military operations there.

At least 78 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have been killed since Israel launched its assault on Gaza, which the UN has warned is causing a humanitarian crisis in one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

Both Hezbollah and Palestinian militants holding the soldiers are demanding the release of prisoners from Israeli jails, something Israel has rejected outright.

Regional war feared as Lebanon crisis worsens
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« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2006, 04:24:55 PM »

Unable to Gain Russian Support for Israel on Iran, Palestine, and Lebanon
Al-Jazeerah Editor's Note:

As a nation state, it's not in the US national interest to side with the Israeli occupation government in its relentless efforts to dominate and control the oil-rich Middle East. However, the Israel Lobby control over the US government made the United States just a colony of the Zionist Empire.

This is evidenced in that in every effort US officials make on the international level, they serve the Israeli interests, not the national interests of the United States.

In this example today, President Bush has dealt a severe blow to the US-Russian relations because President Putin refused to support the Israeli policies towards Iran, Lebanon, and Palestine.

Unable to Gain Russian Support for Israel on Iran, Palestine, and Lebanon
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« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2006, 04:26:35 PM »

Pour out your fury upon the people of Lebanon and Gaza

By Gilad Atzmon

Al-Jazeerah, July 15, 2006

Two weeks ago it was Palestinian resistance fighters who abducted a legitimate military target, an Israeli soldier. Yesterday it was a similar overwhelmingly orchestrated heroic attack by Hezbollah resistance fighters. Both attacks are there to send a message of resistance: Israel will never succeed in imposing its sickening unilateral notion of ‘peace’. Indeed, the unilateral disengagement may have had a magical effect on the Israeli voters as well as some Zionised western leaders such as Bush, Blair and Merkel. Yet, the inhabitants of Gaza and the villagers of Southern Lebanon are slightly less impressed with the Israeli inclination towards peace. In Gaza and in Southern Lebanon it is rather clear that Arab resistance forces will oppose the Israeli unilateral agenda ‘til the end of time. They all know that as much as it takes two to tango, peace will never prevail unless the Palestinian cause is properly addressed. In short, the different forms of Israeli unilateral disengagements from Lebanon, Gaza or even the West Bank (to come) are not going to provide Israel with peace. Quite the opposite; Arabs are no fools, they know very well that Israel escaped Lebanon after being militarily humiliated for two decades. They know as well that Sharon ran away from Gaza not exactly because he was searching for peace. Palestinians also know that it is just a question of time before that happens in the West Bank. If to be precise, since 1973 Israel’s power of deterrence is shrinking. Since 1973 Israel hasn’t managed to defeat any of its enemies. On the contrary, time after time it is the enemies of Israel who are able to dictate Israeli political and tactical manoeuvres. In the last two weeks it has been two relatively small paramilitary organisations who use guerrilla techniques who managed to bring Israel to unleash its full military might against innocent civilians both in Gaza and Lebanon.

Yet, the Israeli reaction to attacks by Palestinian militants and Hezbollah is rather bizarre. Although, both Palestinian militants and Hezbollah were originally targeting legitimate military targets, Israeli retaliation was clearly aiming against civilian targets, civil infrastructures and mass killing directed against an innocent population. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this is not really the way to win a war or confront that particular sort of combat known as guerrilla warfare.

I would argue that once again the Israeli government serves us with a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of the Israeli collective psyche. I will try to elaborate on this issue.

Due to some clear historical circumstances, the Israeli army was originally formed to combat Arab armies. It was designed to win conventional war in the battlefield. It was set up as well to exhaust Israel’s neighbours’ will to fight while exercising some overwhelming air superiority and nuclear threatening policies. Since the end of the cold war, things changed. Israel isn’t threatened anymore by its neighbouring states. Moreover, in the most recent years it has become clear that it is actually the Palestinian people who will eventually shatter the dream of a Jewish national state.

Strangely enough, Israel has never adopted or revised its military doctrine to fit into the new emerging conditions. Indeed it retrained large parts of its fighting units as policing forces, it transformed some of its tanks into policing vehicles. Yet, it has never gone through a vast military doctrine shift. Very much like the Wehrmacht at the time of WWII, the IDF is still a classic follower of the offensive military doctrine. Hitherto, rather than winning in the battlefield, the IDF is now hopelessly exhausting itself in two fronts fighting relatively small paramilitary organisations. But the situation can get worse, it is rather possible that Palestinian heroic enthusiasm will spread to the West Bank. When this happens, the IDF will find itself engaged in a total war just a few kilometres from Israel’s most densely populated centres. Seemingly the so-called ‘strongest army in the Middle East’ is fighting a desperate war it can never win, neither tactically nor morally.

Tactically, we have enough historic references to conclude that no colonial army has ever won against guerrilla warfare. The reason is simple, the more destruction a colonial army spreads, the more popular the guerrilla fighters become amongst their surrounding supportive population. This is absolutely the case in Gaza and in Beirut today. The more carnage there is in Gaza, the stronger the Hamas becomes. The more bombs dropped over Beirut’s Airport, the more will young men be willing to join the Hezbollah.

But it goes further, both the Palestinian militants and the Hezbollah were very clever in picking pure military targets. While in the past, the Palestinian paramilitary groups were typically associated with suicidal attacks against Israeli civilians, this time it was Israeli soldiers and pure military posts that were targeted. In other words, it is rather impossible to dismiss the fact that Palestinian militants and the Hezbollah were actually operating as legitimate resistance paramilitary groups fighting a colonial army and occupation forces.

However, reading the news from the Middle East, it is rather obvious that the Israeli government has no clear agenda to counter the current daring military operations against its army and if this isn’t enough, the IDF has no means to counter such guerrilla assaults. Today’s merciless collateral damage in Beirut as well as in Gaza proves that at least militarily, Israel is in total despair. It has neither the political nor the military answer to counter Arab resistance. But here comes the catch; Israel doesn’t need an answer as such, it doesn’t even look for one.

Israel is a racially orientated democracy. Its leaders are engaged in one thing only, i.e. maintenance of the their political power. As far as the Israeli political game is concerned, the rule is very simple, the more Arab blood you have on your hands the more you are suited to get on with your governing job. This rule obviously was in favour of Rabin, Sharon, Barak and Netanyahu. Olmert and Peretz are still quite far behind. Both the prime minister and his defence minister lack some real experience in military and security matters. Hence they have a lot of catching up to do.

In other words, Peretz and Olmert have to provide the Israeli people with a glorious spectacle of merciless retaliation. They have to prove to their keen voters that they have internalised the real biblical meaning of ‘an eye for an eye’. Looking at the carnage in Beirut today it somehow seems as if they even try to give the old Hebraic say a new meaning. As devastating as it may sound, this is exactly what the Israelis want them to do. Within democratic Israel the biblical call "pour out your fury upon the goyim” is translated into a Jewish secular pragmatic political practice. This isn’t sad. This is a real tragedy. And I wonder whether there is anyone out there who is still overwhelmed with the Israeli unilateral peace agenda?

Pour out your fury upon the people of Lebanon and Gaza
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« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2006, 04:28:26 PM »

Israel strikes 'Hamas weapons factory'

Israeli jets have bombed the Palestinian Economy Ministry and a house in Gaza, as part of an offensive to free a captured soldier and destroy the institutions of the Hamas-led Government.

Aircraft hit the house with two missiles, killing a bystander and injuring 10 people, including three babies.

The house was demolished, with a huge crater dug out by the blast.

Firefighters are searching for bodies among the ruins.

An Israeli army spokeswoman says the house was a weapons factory used by Hamas militants, who were inside at the time of the bombing.

"The powerful blast that occurred afterwards could have been caused by the explosion of ammunition stashed inside the building," she said.

Earlier, an 18-year-old Palestinian was killed in an Israeli helicopter strike in a village near Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

Israeli aircraft have also bombed the Economic Ministry and witnesses say the country has bombed a bridge in central Gaza.

Palestinian officials say the bridge and ministry attacks have caused no casualties.

Israeli air strikes have already destroyed several Gaza offices of the Palestinian Government, including those of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Interior Minister.

Hamas, which won control of the Palestinian Government in January elections, is sworn to Israel's destruction.

Its militant movement was among factions that kidnapped Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 25.

At least 76 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have now been killed since Israel stepped up its ground assault almost three weeks ago in reaction to the abduction.

Israeli troops now occupy a part of southern Gaza.

Israel strikes 'Hamas weapons factory'
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« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2006, 04:30:26 PM »

Labanese PM Promises to Extend Control
- By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, July 15, 2006

(07-15) 13:02 PDT BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) --

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora pledged Saturday to extend his government's control over all of Lebanon, signaling he wants to end Hezbollah's autonomy in the south — a top Israeli demand.

But he said he needed the United Nations to first press for a cease-fire to halt Israel's devastating military blitz, which has killed at least 106 Lebanese since Wednesday, most of them civilians.

"We call for working to extend the state's authority over all its territories in south Lebanon, in cooperation with the United Nations, and working to recover all Lebanese territories and exercising full sovereignty of the state over those territories," Saniora said in a televised address to the nation.

His voice cracking with emotion, Saniora criticized Hezbollah without naming the group, saying Lebanon "cannot rise and get back on its feet if its government is the last to know."

"The government alone has the legitimate right to decide on matters of peace and war because it represents the will of the Lebanese people," he said.

Saniora called for the United Nations to intervene to stop bloody cross-border fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in south Lebanon.

"We call for an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire under United Nations auspices," he said.

The Lebanese Cabinet has refused to condone Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers Wednesday, an action that triggered Israel's offensive on Lebanon, the worst attack on its neighbor in 24 years.

Saniora did not elaborate on how his government would work with the United Nations to reassert Lebanese authority over its entire territory.

Israel reacted coolly.

"It's an excellent declaration but he doesn't need our permission... We have to see what they do and not what they say," Vice Premier Shimon Peres told Israel's Channel 2 TV. He said Lebanon has to prove it is serious by deploying troops on the southern border.

"A foreign body (Hezbollah) has entered the area and it's your job to get them out of there," he said.

Saniora declared Lebanon a "disaster-stricken country" and accused Israel of executing an "immoral and illegitimate collective punishment" of the Lebanese people.

He appealed for national unity and spoke to the Lebanese people, saying: "We will surpass the ordeal, and we will face up to the challenge. We will rebuild what the enemy has destroyed as we always did."

Labanese PM Promises to Extend Control
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« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2006, 04:32:18 PM »

Blair: No point in condemnations because we are only observers

British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed the situation in the Middle East and said that the only solution between the Palestinians and Israel is two separate states side by side.

He added that 'we could condemn Israel, the Palestinians or Syria on tensions as much as we want,' but that there would be no point as 'we are observing from the side and are not experiencing the problems of the Middle East.'

Blair: No point in condemnations because we are only observers
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« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2006, 04:34:59 PM »

Putin thinks Israel after more than return of abducted soldiers
posted by:  Sara Gandy  Web Producer
Created: 7/15/2006 2:30 PM MST - Updated: 7/15/2006 2:30 PM MST

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he thinks Israel is pursuing wider goals in its military campaign against Lebanon than the return of its captured soldiers.

"However complicated the questions are, maximum efforts must be applied to resolve the situation in a peaceful way and I think all efforts have not been exhausted," Putin said. "However, it is our impression that aside from seeking to return the abducted soldiers, Israel is pursuing wider goals."

Putin thinks Israel after more than return of abducted soldiers
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« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2006, 04:40:00 PM »

Arab leaders split over Hizbullah


Foreign ministers of 18 Arab countries hold emergency summit in Cairo over Israel's expanding assault on Lebanon. Saudi foreign minister appears to lead camp of ministers criticizing Hizbullah's actions, calling them 'unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts'
Associated Press

Foreign ministers of 18 Arab countries held an emergency summit in Cairo Saturday over Israel's expanding assault on Lebanon, but squabbles over the legitimacy of Hizbullah's attacks on Israel — including the capture of two Israeli soldiers that sparked the four-day battle — appeared likely to keep participants from reaching a consensus, delegates said.

The Saudi foreign minister appeared to be leading a camp of ministers criticizing the guerrilla group's actions, calling them "unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts."

"These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them," Saudi al-Faisal told his counterparts.

Supporting his stance were representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, delegates said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem lashed back al-Faisal, asking "how can we come here to discuss the burning situation in Lebanon while others are making statements criticizing the resistance?"

Moallem emerged as the leader of another camp of ministers defending Hizbullah as carrying out "legitimate acts in line with international resolutions and the U.N. charter, as acts of resistance," delegates said.

The rift appeared likely to prevent participants from issuing a unanimous resolution over Israel's bloody incursion into Lebanon — the worst Israeli attack on its neighbor in 24 years.

'Frustration and bitterness among Arab people'

Earlier, Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh presented his fellow Arab League members with a draft resolution condemning Israel's military offensive and supporting Lebanon's "right to resist occupation by all legitimate means" — language frequently used by Hizbullah to justify its guerrillas' presence in south Lebanon.

The draft, a copy of which obtained by The Associated Press, also demanded the release of Lebanese captives and detainees in Israeli prisons, and supported Lebanon's right to "liberate them by all legitimate means."

Salloukh, a Shiite close to the mainstream Amal faction as well as the militant Hizbullah, said Arab governments were not doing enough to protest Israel's assault on Lebanon.

"What our Arab brothers have called `involvement' has only resulted in frustration and bitterness among Arab people," Salloukh told participants at the meeting Saturday.

"If (Arab) governments are not serious and determined ... our people will sooner or later take things into their own hands," he said.

Israel launched its offensive after Hizbullah guerrillas crossed the Israel-Lebanon border on Wednesday and captured two Israeli soldiers. Israel has bombarded Lebanon's airport and main roads and destroyed Hizbullah's headquarters in south Beirut. Hizbullah has responded by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel.

At least 79 Lebanese have died, mostly civilians.

Arab leaders split over Hizbullah
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« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2006, 04:44:05 PM »

Lebanon PM demands ceasefire, appeals for aid

Following Israel's military pressure on Lebanon, Fouad Siniora tells reporters, 'we'll work to extend state's authority over all its territories, in cooperation with United Nations in south Lebanon'; adds 'Lebanon is last to know what is happening, but first to pay price'
Roee Nahmias

Desperate cry for help: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called on Saturday for an immediate ceasefire, saying Israeli attacks had turned Lebanon into a disaster area in need of international aid.

"We call for an immediate ceasefire backed by the United Nations," Siniora said in a televised message to the nation. "I declare today that Lebanon is a disaster zone in need of a comprehensive and speedy Arab plan ... and (it) pleads to its friends in the world to rush to its aid."

Dozens of people, most of them civilians, have died in Israeli attacks on Lebanon since Hizbullah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight on Wednesday. Four civilians have been killed by Hizbullah rockets in northern Israel since.

The Israel Air Force's strikes have caused great damages to Lebanese infrastructures – bridges were bombed, naval ports and airports were completely destroyed, and buildings in the Lebanese capital were ruined.

In his speech, the Lebanese prime minister again tried to renounce his government's responsibility of what was taking place in Lebanon. He implicitly hinted that he accepts Israel's stance and that his government plans to work to deploy its army on all the country's territory – a move which Hizbullah has opposed so far.

"The government declared from the beginning that it did not know about the kidnapping operation in advance. Israel has no right to destroy Lebanon. Lebanon cannot fulfill its role if it is the last to know what is happening, but the first to pay the price," the desperate prime minister said.

'Israel responsible for the humanitarian disaster'

Without saying the explicit words, Siniora drew a clear red line opposite Hizbullah, saying that "the state is the only legitimate element for decisions of war and peace. We will face this war united, all of us together."

"We are facing a lot of aggressiveness. We won't hesitate and will not hesitate and give in to this aggressiveness and will use all means against it. I would like to note that the government made a decision in its latest meeting, according to which it will protect its citizens, and that its right and duty is to deploy its sovereignty on all its territory," he said, again hinting at Hizbullah.

"We call (for) ... work to extend the state's authority over all its territories, in cooperation with the United Nations in south Lebanon," A visibly emotional Siniora said.

The UN maintains a peacekeeping force in south Lebanon where Hizbullah is active.

"We see Israel responsible for the humanitarian disaster taking place in Lebanon. I declare from here that Lebanon is a battered country which needs a quick international Arab aid plan," Siniora added.

Lebanon PM demands ceasefire, appeals for aid
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« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2006, 04:49:56 PM »

Tiberias attacked by Hizbullah rockets

Second rocket barrage hits northern city, lightly injuring one person; 31 people suffer from shock. Third barrage hits open areas north of city. Tiberias bombed for first time Saturday afternoon, all its beaches evacuated. Residents: 'City not prepared, we feel unprotected here'
Sharon Roffe-Ofir

Resort town under attack: Hizbullah fired several rocket barrages at the northern city of Tiberias on Saturday evening.

At around 6 p.m., five rockets began landing in the city one after the other. Some 31 people were hurt, including a man who was lightly injured after his house was directly hit by a rocket. About thirty people suffered from shock.

All the injured were taken to the Poria Hospital in Tiberias for medical treatment. Later, at around 7:25 p.m., a second barrage landed north of Tiberias.

About 54 people were injured by Katyusha rockets in Tiberias throughout Saturday, including seven who were wounded by Shrapnel. The rest suffered from shock.

An inquiry revealed that five rockets hit the city, one of them landing near the Pagoda restaurant on the shores of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The restaurant is closed on Saturday, so there were no injuries.


Tiberias hit by rockets Saturday evening (Photo: Doron)

Magen David Adom crews, fire fighters and police forces deployed in the rocket landing areas. Many residents gathered to watch the wreckage, but quickly left the area following a police announcement that warned of another Katyusha barrage expected to hit the area. residents were asked to leave the place and enter secure zones.

Ilan Shukrun, an eyewitness, was about 100 meters (328 feet) away from the place hit by the rocket.

"We heard a terrible noise. My children started crying, it was terrifying. We keep on hearing about falls in Kiryat Shmona. Maybe this is the time to support the residents there. No one was prepared for it," he said.

Shukrun also said that the bomb shelter infrastructure in Tiberias was not prepared to contain residents during warnings.

"The residents have not been prepared. Most of the shelters are being used as storerooms. We feel we have no protection here," he said.

The Azablos family members, who live near one of the houses that was directly hit by a Katyusha rocket, complained that there was no shelter for the area's residents to use.

Many of the residents were angry at the Tiberias mayor, who said in an interview following the first rocket barrage in the afternoon that there are enough bomb shelters and that the infrastructure for the residents was ready.

Eli Abu Hatzeira said: "We have no bomb shelter, so we take our place behind a wall inside the house when we hear the warnings."

The second Katyusha barrage on Tiberias occurred when residents of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood were in synagogues.

One of the residents said: "In spite of the Katyusha barrage that landed in the afternoon we did not imagine that it will also reach our quiet neighborhood."

Usually, the residents said, there are a lot of children and families in the area, who did not arrive following the first rocket barrage.

In another neighborhood in the city, in which a Katyusha rocket landed between two apartment buildings, dozens of the residents went out and protested, saying that they were not afraid. Some of the residents were in need of medical treatment due to anxiety and fear.

The Katyusha barrages enraged some of the city's resident: "It's time for the government to understand that we must pay them back."

'Katyusha hit a place where children usually play'

The dog of one of the families living in a building that was directly hit by a rocket was seriously injured in the first Katyusha barrage on the city. He was treated by a veterinarian.

"It's a miracle that my children were no hurt. Every Saturday we build a swimming pool on the balcony outside, but this time, because we are renovating, the children were at home and the Katyusha's shrapnel fell exactly on the spot where the pool is placed every Saturday, Niva Liani told Ynet.

Liani was also angry: "It's about time that once and for all we show them who we are, and then maybe it will be quiet."

"We have to bomb them in like kind and not bombard some poor headquarters and say that we bombed," said Dikla Abadi. "We have to hit their people, just like here Tiberias residents in the middle of their Shabbat dinner are shaking from fear. It’s time they also start to shake."

Other residents were also angry: "We have to hit them hard. It's impossible that our life routine is hurt, that people are making their way to a synagogue and a Katyusha falls at a neighborhood. We have to teach them a lesson."

"Our country has the abilities and it should use them and not fear what the world might say about us hurting their citizens. They are doing the same thing to us and it's important that the world knows it," said Zion, who lives in the city.

Tiberias' residents found it difficult to get used to the new reality.

"We can't believe how Kiryat Shmona's residents have been living like this for years. This has never happened to us. We don’t know how to deal with it and we have no intention of starting to get used to it," resident who arrived at the Katyusha's landing site said.

"We always said that this would not happen to us. We offered our relatives from the Krayot to come and stay here, and in the end we are being bombed," Sara, a city resident, said.

In the meantime, Tiberias' residents were called to spend the night in secured zones.

Tiberias attacked by Hizbullah rockets
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« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2006, 04:53:29 PM »

Navy was unaware of missile threat

Initial probe into attack on missile boat Friday reveals Navy had no intelligence of possible missile threat in area where boat was operating; missile, aircraft interception system has been turned off due to presence of IDF planes in sector
Hanan Greenberg

The actions taken by crewmembers of the IDF missile boat that sustained a direct Hizbullah missile hit Friday, prevented a great disaster that could have resulted in numerous casualties, an initial inquiry into the incident reveals.

Brigadier-General Noam Page of the Navy said in a press conference Saturday that the Navy was unaware that a missile threat existed in the sector, and that the boat's crew had acted accordingly.

Missile boats are equipped with a missile interception system capable of automatically intercepting any missile or aircraft approaching it. However, as the boat was operating in an area where a large number of IDF planes were present, the Navy had refrained from activating the system.

Navy sources said that had they known the Hizbullah was in possession of missiles of the type used against the boat Saturday, the missile interception system would have been turned on.

‘We’ve been hit’

The initial investigation revealed that at 8:45 p.m. crewmembers on board the vessel were preparing for Shabbat dinner when a loud blat was heard. One of the ship’s commanders has informed the Navy’s control command: “We’ve been hit.” In the first few minutes after the strike, it was unclear what hit the boat, and the sailors concentrated on extinguishing the fire that broke out at the landing pad after 50 kilograms of explosives penetrated the vessel’s body.

Large Navy and Air Force units were dispatched to the place and began assisting the forces on board the boat.

Simultaneously, the crew conducted a damage control routine aimed at establishing what systems sustained damages in the attack. At the first stage it was decided to pull the boat away from its position using another boat, and at the same time to surround it with additional crafts in order to protect it from being hit again.

A senior Navy official said Saturday that the fire on board has repeatedly erupted after being extinguished as a result of the heat absorbed by metal objects on the boat. Only after the crew managed to contain the fire and tend to the damages it was discovered that four sailors were missing.

Navy was unaware of missile threat
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« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2006, 09:13:26 PM »

UN council keeps silent on Israel-Lebanon conflict

By Irwin Arieff 49 minutes ago

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Saturday again rejected pleas that it call for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon after the United States objected, diplomats said.

Washington argued in closed-door talks that the focus for Middle East diplomacy for now should be on the weekend summit in St Petersburg of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, council diplomats said.

It was the sole member of the 15-nation U.N. body to oppose any council action at all at this time, they said.

"We would expect much more from the Security Council," Lebanese Foreign Ministry official  Nouhad Mahmoud told reporters after the council meeting, singling out the United States for blame.

While Washington has been very supportive of the Lebanese government in the past, "when it comes to Israel, it seems things changed," Mahmoud said. "Destruction is still going on, people are still dying ... and here we are impotent."

The council planned another discussion of the conflict on Monday, and hoped to soon begin work on a "substantive" response to the conflict, said French U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, the council president for July.

The Monday meeting would be the council's third since Hizbollah guerillas crossed over into Israel last week and captured two Israeli soldiers, triggering an intensifying military response by Israeli forces that has been met with a steady rain of Hizbollah missiles into northern Israel.

The Lebanese government called on the Security Council on Thursday to adopt a resolution imposing a cease-fire.

The plea was renewed on Saturday by Qatar, the council's sole Arab member.

Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert assured the United Nations that Israeli forces would not interfere in a plan by U.N. peacekeepers to move Lebanese villagers living along the border with Israel out of the line of fire, U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno said.

Olmert's assurances came in a Saturday telephone call to U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, Guehenno said.

Israel's Northern Command had previously warned U.N. peacekeepers to keep out of a zone several miles wide running along the Lebanese side of the border, he said.

Such an order would have been "impossible to comply with, unacceptable," Guehenno told reporters.

Olmert's assurances cleared the way for the peacekeepers to try to move the civilians on Sunday, he said. Arrangements would also have to be worked out with Hizbollah, he added.

UN council keeps silent on Israel-Lebanon conflict
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« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2006, 09:16:04 PM »

Israel deploys Patriot to stop rockets
Web posted at: 7/16/2006 3:39:45
Source ::: REUTERS

JERUSALEM • Israel has deployed Patriot missile batteries in the northern city of Haifa to intercept rockets fired from Lebanon, a military spokeswoman said. The American made rockets had last been used in that area during the 1991 Gulf War, to protect against Scud missiles fired at Israel from Iraq.

The Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah fired rockets for the first time at Haifa on Friday. “Rockets are being deployed as a means of protection against the non-stop Katyusha rocket fire,” the army spokeswoman said.

The Israeli news Web site Ynet said two batteries had been placed in the city. Israeli authorities are concerned about rockets hitting sensitive strategic sites in the Haifa area. Haifa had been the deepest target in Israel ever struck by Hezbollah.

But yesterday, Hezbollah fired two barrages of rockets at the Sea of Galilee town of Tiberias, which is further south than Haifa. Two were hurt by the first three rockets, and another two by the second barrage, Israeli officials said.

Tiberias is a major Christian pilgrimage site in northern Israel. The strike was claimed by the Hezbollah, the main target of Israel’s massive offensive against Lebanon that has seen dozens of the people killed since Wednesday. “The Islamic Resistance fires dozens of rockets for the first time on Tiberias,” said an announcement on Hezbollah’s television station Al-Manar.

Israel deploys Patriot to stop rockets
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« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2006, 09:18:40 PM »

Israel batters Lebanese seaports, roads

Lebanese leader hints at anti-Hezbollah move
By Sam F. Ghattas
ASSOCIATED PRESS

4:44 p.m. July 15, 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Warplanes bombed Beirut's southern suburbs again early Sunday, witnesses reported, after a day in which Israel tightened a noose around this reeling nation with the heaviest air strikes yet in the four-day-old conflict.

The Israeli air force on Saturday hit strongholds of the Hezbollah Shiite Muslim guerrilla group, bombed central Beirut for the first time, and pounded seaports and a key bridge. Then, in Sunday's early morning darkness, a dozen thunderous explosions shook southern Beirut, where Hezbollah is headquartered and much of the intensifying air assault has been targeted since cross-border hostilities erupted Wednesday.

Hezbollah's TV aired footage showing two long columns of smoke rising from buildings into the night sky. Lights were out across large sections of Beirut because the Israelis bombed power stations and the fuel depots feeding them.

Trying to defuse the crisis, Lebanon's prime minister indicated he might send his army to take control of southern Lebanon from Hezbollah – a move that might risk civil war.

In a more ominous sign that the struggle could spread, Israel accused Iran of helping fire a missile that damaged an Israeli warship, a charge both Hezbollah and Iran denied.

Hezbollah, meanwhile, fired waves of rockets ever deeper into Israel, and Israeli officials warned that Tel Aviv, 70 miles inside Israel, could be hit.

The death toll in the four-day-old conflict rose above 100 in Lebanon, and stood at 15 in Israel. The fighting broke out when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a cross-border raid.

Despite worldwide alarm, there was little indication either Western or Arab nations could muster a quick diplomatic solution. The United States and France prepared to evacuate their citizens, and Britain dispatched an aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean in apparent preparation for evacuations.

Choking back tears, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora went on television to plead with the United Nations to broker a cease-fire for his “disaster-stricken nation.”

The Western-backed prime minister, criticizing both Israel and Hezbollah, also pledged to reassert government authority over all Lebanese territory, suggesting his government might deploy the Lebanese army in the south, which Hezbollah effectively controls.

That would meet a repeated U.N. and U.S. demand. But any effort by Saniora's Sunni Muslim-led government to use force against the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah guerrillas could trigger another bloody civil war in Lebanon. Many fear the 70,000-strong army itself might break up along sectarian lines, as it did during the 1975-90 civil war.

Reacting to Saniora's statements, Israel's Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Lebanon must prove it was serious by deploying troops on the border.

“We have to see what they do and not what they say,” Peres told Israel's Channel 2 TV.

Iran, meanwhile, denied any role in the fighting, disputing Israeli claims that 100 Iranian soldiers had helped Hezbollah attack an Israeli warship late Friday.

There has been no sign in Lebanon of Iranian Revolutionary Guards for 15 years. But Iran is one of Hezbollah's principal backers along with Syria, providing weapons, money and political support. Many believe Iran and Syria are fueling the battle to show their strength in the region.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again condemned Israel's Lebanon offensive Saturday, telling Tehran's state television, “The Zionist regime behaves like Hitler.”

Despite global concerns, there were few signs of diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting.

President Bush, on a trip to Russia, said it was up to Hezbollah “to lay down its arms and to stop attacking.” But Russian President Vladimir Putin urged a balanced approach by Israel and said it appeared the nation was pursuing wider goals than the return of abducted soldiers.

Arab foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo, adopted a resolution calling for U.N. Security Council intervention. But moderates led by Saudi Arabia, bickering with Syria and other backers of Hezbollah, denounced the Lebanese guerrilla group's actions in provoking the latest conflict.

In one sign the West expects a drawn-out battle, the U.S. Embassy said it was looking into ways to get Americans in Lebanon to Cyprus. France said it had already decided to send a ferry from Cyprus to evacuate thousands of its nationals. The British were sending two warships, including the carrier Illustrious, toward Lebanon, in apparent preparation for evacuations.

In all, 33 people were killed in Lebanon on Saturday, police said. That raised the Lebanese death toll in the four-day Israeli offensive to 106, mostly civilians. On the Israeli side, at least 15 have been killed, four civilians and 11 soldiers.

Israeli warplanes demolished the last bridge on the main Beirut-Damascus highway – over the Litani River, six miles from the Syrian border – trying to complete their seal on Lebanon.

Four days into the Israeli offensive, Lebanese themselves remained divided over Hezbollah's operation: Some angry and terrified, others proud.

“No one has stood up to Israel the way the resistance (Hezbollah) has,” said a 33-year-old housewife, Laila Remeiti, one of about 130 people who have taken refuge at a Beirut government school.

But the toll across the country was clear, with bridges, seaports, military coastal radars and Hezbollah offices all attacked in intensive air raids and sea bombardments Saturday:

 Fleeing refugees, including women and children, were cut down on a road adjacent to the Lebanese-Israeli border in an airstrike as they left the village of Marwaheen. The bodies of several children, one headless, were sprawled on the ground. Police said 15 were killed in the afternoon attack and an Associated Press photographer counted 12 bodies in the two cars.

 At least three civilians were killed when another Israeli airstrike hit a bridge near the Syrian border, cutting the last land link on the main road to Syria and its capital, Damascus.

 In the afternoon, Israeli forces hit central Beirut, striking the port and a lighthouse on a posh seafront boulevard, a few hundred yards from the campus of the American University of Beirut. The seaport is adjacent to downtown Beirut, a district rebuilt at a cost of billions of dollars after the 1975-1990 civil war.

 The brunt of the onslaught focused more and more on Hezbollah's top leadership in south Beirut and the eastern city of Baalbek. Ambulances raced to a Baalbek residential neighborhood where black smoke rose from airstrikes. Israel also targeted the headquarters compound of Hezbollah's leadership in a crowded Shiite neighborhood of south Beirut for the second straight day.

Hezbollah in turn struck out repeatedly at Israel. Its rockets hit Tiberias three times on Saturday, the first attack on the city – 22 miles from Lebanon – since the 1973 Mideast war. At least two houses were directly hit, but only a few light injuries were reported, medics said.

Residents were ordered into bomb shelters, and Israeli media reported that hundreds of tourists were fleeing the city. Police used megaphones to urge bathers at the Sea of Galilee to seek shelter.

On Israel's second front, against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, Israeli aircraft on Saturday struck the Economy Ministry of the Hamas-led Palestinian government and three other targets, killing two people, Palestinian and Israeli officials reported.

Early Sunday, Israeli tanks approached the town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, across the border from an Israeli town, Sderot, frequently hit by Hamas guerrilla rockets, residents and Palestinian security officials reported. Palestinian hospital officials said two people were wounded by Israeli artillery fire in the area.

Israel attacked Gaza on June 28, three days after Hamas-backed militants killed two soldiers and captured a third at an army post just inside Israel.

Israel batters Lebanese seaports, roads
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« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2006, 09:22:09 PM »

Israel pounds Beirut's southern suburb

By Alaa Shahine 50 minutes ago

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israel pounded Beirut's southern suburb on Sunday, the fifth successive day of an offensive on Lebanon, with no sign that its attacks on the Hizbollah guerrilla group and civilian installations were near an end.

The air strikes, which killed 35 civilians on Saturday, including 15 children, were meant to punish the Lebanese government for failing to disarm Hizbollah and letting it menace Israel's northern border, where measures just short of a state of emergency have been ordered.

The bombing of Lebanese roads, bridges, ports and airports, as well as Hizbollah targets, is Israel's most destructive onslaught since a 1982 invasion to expel Palestinian forces.

The attacks started after the guerrilla group's capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border operation on Wednesday.

Air strikes in the early hours of Sunday damaged a flyover linking the southern suburb with the eastern part of Beirut, Hizbollah's al-Manar television reported, and the loud blasts were heard throughout the capital. Israeli aircraft have already flattened Hizbollah's nine-story headquarters.

The campaign in Lebanon coincided with an offensive Israel launched in the Gaza Strip on June 28 to try to retrieve another captured soldier and halt Palestinian rocket fire.

Israeli forces clashed with militants in Gaza on Sunday as tanks moved back into the north of the Strip. Tanks and armored personnel carriers, backed by helicopters with machine guns sending down bursts of fire, moved into farmland near Beit Hanoun, an area often used by militants for launching rockets.

Small groups of militants opened fire at the Israeli forces, but there was no report of casualties.

APPEALS FOR AID

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora repeated his demands for an immediate U.N.-backed cease-fire on Saturday. He denounced Israel for turning his country into a "disaster zone" and appealed for foreign aid.

His speech came hours after Israel bombarded ports in Christian areas for the first time and a helicopter missile hit a lighthouse on Beirut's seafront.

Israel has said the way out would be for Lebanon to implement a U.N. resolution demanding Hizbollah be disarmed. The Beirut government, led by an anti-Syrian coalition, lacks the unity and firepower to disarm Hizbollah, the only Lebanese faction to keep its guns after the 1975-90 civil war.

President Bush, who has declined to urge Israel to curb its military operations, said Syria should tell Hizbollah, also backed by Iran, to stop cross-border attacks.

An Israeli missile incinerated a van in southern Lebanon, killing 20 people, among them 15 children, in the deadliest single attack of the campaign.

Police said the van was carrying two families fleeing the village of Marwaheen after Israeli loudspeaker warnings to leave their homes. Many of the bodies were charred.

At least 104 people, all but four of them civilians, have been killed in the five-day assault, which has choked Lebanon's economy and forced tourists and foreigners to flee.

Four Israelis, including a five-year-old child, have been killed and 300 wounded by about 700 rockets fired since Wednesday at more than 20 towns.

The Israeli offensive forced hundreds of families to flee their homes in south Lebanon and Beirut's southern suburb and were placed in schools across the capital. Human rights activists said the makeshift shelters lacked basic services.

"They don't have enough blankets and medical supplies," Ghassan Makarem, one activist, told Reuters on Sunday. "The situation is disgusting."

The Israeli government gave authorities the power to shut schools, factories and public institutions in the north in a move that falls just short of a full state of emergency.

Israel has deployed Patriot missile batteries in the northern city of Haifa to intercept rockets.

It also warned the Lebanese army on Sunday against shooting at its aircraft and said it would not hesitate to strike "at any party operating against it."

Italy began evacuating nationals from Lebanon. Britain said it was sending two Royal Navy ships to the Middle East for a possible evacuation of British citizens. Thousands of people have streamed to the Syrian border and safety.

Israel says it aims not just to force Hizbollah to free the soldiers, whom the Shi'ite group wants to trade for prisoners in Israel, but to destroy its ability to fire rockets into Israel.

Israel pounds Beirut's southern suburb
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