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Media Hope They Have Their Israeli “Atrocity”

From Reuters:

Israel air strike kills 60 civilians

By Hussein Saad

An Israeli air strike killed more than 60 Lebanese civilians, including at least 37 children, on Sunday, fuelling world pressure for a ceasefire.

The raid on the southern village of Qana — the bloodiest single attack during Israel's 19-day-old war on Hizbollah — prompted Lebanon to tell U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice she was unwelcome in Beirut for talks.

Rescue workers dug through the rubble with their hands for hours, lifting out the twisted, dust-caked corpses of children.

A Lebanese foreign ministry official told an urgent session of the U.N. Security Council that more than 60 people were killed, mostly women and children. Police earlier put the toll at 54, 37 of them children.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the Security Council to condemn the attack and call for an immediate end to hostilities. "I am deeply dismayed that my earlier calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities were not heeded," Annan said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed "deep sorrow" at the bombing, but vowed the war against Hizbollah would go on. He told Rice on Saturday the army needed another 10 to 14 days to press its offensive, a spokesman at his office said.

Israeli U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman told the Security Council that Qana was "a hub for Hizbollah" and said Israel had beseeched the residents of the village to leave.

As anger convulsed Lebanon and the Arab world, protesters smashed their way into the United Nations headquarters in downtown Beirut as thousands massed outside chanting "Death to Israel, Death to America."


Rice, who was in Israel, said she was saddened by the Qana air raid, but stopped well short of calling for an immediate ceasefire. Her mediation drive in tatters, Rice will leave for Washington on Monday to work on a U.N. resolution that could achieve what the White House called a "sustainable" ceasefire.

It also said the Qana raid showed the critical need for Israel to take "the utmost care" to avoid civilian casualties.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said he would not hold negotiations before a ceasefire, scuppering Rice's visit. Rice later said she had called off her trip to Beirut.

Siniora, often at odds with Hizbollah, thanked its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and "all those who sacrifice their lives for the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon."

Qana is already a potent symbol of Lebanese civilian deaths at Israeli hands. In April 1996, Israeli shelling killed more than 100 civilians sheltering at the base of U.N. peacekeepers in Qana during Israel's "Grapes of Wrath" bombing campaign.

International outrage over that attack helped force Israel to end its 17-day campaign that killed more than 200 Lebanese.


Police said Qana, about 11 km (seven miles) from the border with Israel, was bombed at 1:30 a.m. (2230 GMT Saturday). The raid flattened a three-storey building where more than 60 displaced people were in the basement. Many died as they slept.

"Why have they attacked one- and two-year-old children and defenseless women?" asked one bereaved man, Mohamed Samai.

The bodies were wrapped tightly in plastic sheets and assembled under an awning. Flowers were placed on the corpses.

Israel said it was unaware civilians were in the building and accused Hizbollah of firing rockets from Qana.

Hizbollah vowed to retaliate. "This horrific massacre will not go without a response," it said. The governing Palestinian movement Hamas also pledged to hit back with attacks on Israel.

Another Israeli air strike killed five civilians, including two children, in their house in the southern village of Yaroun.

About 146 rockets hit Israel on Sunday, wounding six people, police said. At least three slammed into the city of Haifa.

Rice said it was "time to get to a ceasefire," but insisted this required changing the status quo before the war, which erupted after Hizbollah seized two Israeli soldiers on July 12.

The United States says the priority is to remove the threat posed to Israel by Hizbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria.

At least 561 people have been killed in Lebanon, although the health minister estimated the toll at 750 including unrecovered bodies. Fifty-one Israelis have also been killed.

Many Arab and European leaders condemned the Qana bombing — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described it as state terrorism — and called for an immediate ceasefire. An exception was Britain, which continued to back the U.S. line.

Siniora demanded an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and an international investigation into "Israeli massacres."

In Qana, rescue workers lay a girl's body on the ground and ran to search for more. They heaved hunks of concrete off a dead child crushed underneath. The rigid corpse of a young boy, his bloody face disfigured, lay near a pulverized building.

Hours later, rescuers were still clambering over rubble using their hands to extract corpses. Two mechanical diggers, one provided by U.N. peacekeepers, eventually joined the effort.

Israeli troops pushed into southeast Lebanon on Sunday and battled Hizbollah fighters after crossing the border overnight.

A spokesman for U.N. peacekeepers said Israeli forces were near the villages of Kfar Kila, Taibe and Deir Mimas. Hizbollah hit an Israeli tank with a missile, lightly wounding four soldiers who were evacuated, the Israeli army said.

The army said five Hizbollah guerrillas killed. Hizbollah said it had lost three fighters, but did not say where or when they had died.

Of course this is what Hezbollah has been hoping for from the start. Some "atrocity" that they could pin on Israel to try to shame them into retreating and a ceasefire.

Never mind that technically all of the Hezbollah "soldiers" are civilians. Never mind that they have always purposefully hidden amongst the civilian population even while firing their rockets. (See a telling video here.)

Never mind that their fellow Shiites are killing Sunnis in Iraq at a rate averaging around 100 a day. Our media call that an "insurgency."

Our one party terrorist-loving media have their Israeli "atrocity" at last.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, July 30th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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