Entire Lebanese family killed in Israeli attack on hospital

by Robert Fisk
Published in "The Independent" - 03 August 2006

An attack on a hospital, the killing of an entire Lebanese family, the seizure of five men in Baalbek and a new civilian death toll - 468 men, women and children - marked the 22nd day of Israel's latest war on Lebanon.

The Israelis claimed that helicopter-borne soldiers had seized senior Hizbollah leaders although one of them turned out to be a local Baalbek grocer. In a village near the city, Israeli air strikes killed the local mayor's son and brother and five children in their family.

The battle for Lebanon was fast moving out of control last night. Lebanese troops abandoned many of their checkpoints and European diplomats were warning their colleagues that militiamen were taking over the positions. Up to 8,000 Israeli troops were reported to have crossed the border by last night in what was publicised as a military advance towards the Litani river. But far more soldiers would be needed to secure so large an area of southern Lebanon.

The Israelis sent paratroopers to attack an Iranian-financed hospital in Baalbek in the hope of capturing wounded Hizbollah fighters but, after an hour's battle, got their hands on only five men whom the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, later called "tasty fish". The operation suggests what Hizbollah has all along said was the purpose of the Israeli campaign: to swap prisoners and to exchange Hizbollah fighters for the two Israeli soldiers who were captured on the border on 12 July.

Hizbollah continued to fire dozens of missiles over the border into Israel, killing one Israeli and wounding 21, with Israeli artillery firing shells back into Lebanon at the rate of one every two minutes. For the first time, a Hizbollah rocket struck the West Bank as well as the Israeli town of Beit Shean, the longest-range missile to have been fired so far. Yet still the West seems unable to produce an end to a war which is clearly overwhelming both Hizbollah and the Israelis.

Hizbollah obviously has far more missiles than the Israelis believed - there is not a town in northern Israel which is safe from their fire - and the Israeli army apparently has no plan to defeat Hizbollah other than the old and hopeless policy of occupying southern Lebanon. If Hizbollah had planned this campaign months in advance - and if the Israelis did the same - then neither side left room for diplomacy.
The French have wisely said they will lead a peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon only after a ceasefire. And to be sure, they will not let this become a Nato-led army. France already has a company of 100 soldiers in the UN force in southern Lebanon, whose commander is himself French, but Paris, after watching the chaos in Iraq, has no illusions about Western armies in the Middle East.

Outside the shattered Dar al-Hikma hospital in Baalbek yesterday stood two burnt cars and a minivan, riddled with bullet-holes. Hizbollah, it seems, fought the Israelis there for more than an hour. The hospital, which includes several British-manufactured heart machines, was empty when the Israeli raid began and was partly destroyed in the fighting.

The Lebanese army, which has tried to stay out of the conflict - heaven knows what its 75,000 soldiers are supposed to do - was attacked again by the Israelis yesterday when they fired a missile into a car which they claimed was carrying a Hizbollah leader. They were wrong. The soldier inside died instantly, joining the 11 other Lebanese troops proclaimed as "martyrs" by the government from a logistics unit killed in an Israeli air raid two weeks ago.

The obscene score-card for death in this latest war now stands as follows: 508 Lebanese civilians, 46 Hizbollah guerrillas, 26 Lebanese soldiers, 36 Israeli soldiers and 19 Israeli civilians.

In other words, Hizbollah is killing more Israeli soldiers than civilians and the Israelis are killing far more Lebanese civilians than they are guerrillas. The Lebanese Red Cross has found 40 more civilian dead in the south of the country in the past two days, many of them with wounds suggesting they might have survived had medical help been available.

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited


At Thursday, August 03, 2006 4:30:00 PM, Blogger Toki said...

Please Add it on your Frontpage!!!


My Own Edit and Aired was aired on one of the TV on the next day of the event.

Brought To You by Shameless Momemts Lebanese Blog

At Thursday, August 03, 2006 4:34:00 PM, Blogger CMAR II said...

Hilal Chouman,

You aren't a very sympathetic advertisement for the Lebanese. Where were your boo-hoos for the Israelis killed by Hezbollah and it's allies over the last 6 years since Israel pulled out of Lebanon? Oh. I forgot. That's Israel's problem.

Hezbollah are also murderers of UN peacekeepers and observers over the last 20 years.

Originally, I was inclined to feel sorry for Lebanese caught in the middle, but as I watch the Lebanese rush to the corner of HA, I'm more inclined to believe that they getting what they bargained for.

At Thursday, August 03, 2006 7:23:00 PM, Blogger Roger said...

Here the link to a Video Blog with losst of links about the conflict.


I Hope it is useful for this forum

At Thursday, August 03, 2006 10:38:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

cmar ii,
الله يخليك لأهلك

At Thursday, August 03, 2006 11:56:00 PM, Blogger zoran said...

The reason Hizbulla is killing more soldiers than civilians is because Israeli soldiers do not hide among civilians, like Hizbullah. Hizbulla is behaving in a despicable manner towards the Lebanese. If you are Lebanese, you
have to be out of your mind to support these animals!

At Friday, August 04, 2006 7:49:00 AM, Blogger Erick said...

508 Lebanese "civilians". Too bad that term is meaningless in your country. Most likely 508 Lebanese "civilians" with rockets in their closet, or living next to someone else who does.

Stop putting your weapons in civilian buildings if you don't like suffering civilian casualties.

At Friday, August 04, 2006 9:39:00 AM, Blogger imad said...

wake up, bunch of fools, fed by media and by your own ignorance! there's no hizbollah in any of the civilians targets being hit. I pity your naive souls and close-minds. but if that what it takes to sleep at night, then keep telling yourself that.

At Monday, August 07, 2006 11:39:00 PM, Blogger Enriqueta said...

your wrong. I received Prayer requests that came almost before news alerts about an area where friends were housed.
That militia had been setting up for missle launch, leaflets came they left but it was civilian...I am sorry for you that you cannot handle the truth about HA!
It repulses me what Isreal is doing, but its unforgivable that grown men set up missles inbetween houses, where childeren only hours before were sleeping.

Irsreal is fighting agaisnt men with no honor.
that is your Hezzbolah...


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