Pattaya Daily News

31 July 2006 :: 14:07:26 pm 32949

Israeli Air Strikes Halted For 2 Days

Israel has agreed to stop their air strikes against southern Lebanon for the next 48 hours to investigate the raid on Sunday in Qana that killed almost 60 civilians, most of them women and children.
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   The halt to the aerial activity over southern Lebanon comes on the heals of the Qana bombing. Israeli officials claim that the attack on Qana was a tragic mistake; Lebanese officials have deemed it a war crime and have since broken off talks with the US.

   There is tremendous outrage by the Lebanese people over the building in Qana that was destroyed. The building had been a shelter for women and children from the attacks by Israel.

   In Qana, workers rushed to dig through the rubble of the three story building for survivors. Workers pulled out bodies of dirt covered boys and girls from the mangled wreckage of the building, which was attacked about 1 a.m. The bodies were then carried away in blankets.

   Not all of the people who were staying in the building died. A 13-year-old girl, Noor Hashem, survived. “I was so afraid. There was dirt and rocks and I couldn’t see. Everything was black,” she said after the horrible ordeal.

   She was lucky, her five siblings who were also in the building, were not. They all died in the attack. Noor was pulled from the remains of the building by her uncle. His wife and five children also died,

   The Israel Defense Forces said that residents of Qana had been warned to leave by radio announcements and by air-leaflets because it was a combat area.

   Israel apologized for the attack, saying that they only fired on that location because Hezbollah guerillas had fired rockets into northern Israel from near the building.

   Israel‘s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, called it a “horrible, tragic incident.” But Gillerman said the dead were “victims of Hezbollah,” which he said was using civilian buildings as cover to launch rockets into Israel.

   “We are dealing with a ruthless, cynical, cruel enemy, one of the most monstrous terror organizations this world has known,” he said. “They have no regard for Israeli life, and they have no regard for Lebanese life.”

   “Clearly, we did not know the civilians were in the way,” said IDF spokesman Jacob Dalal, who added that Israel was exercising its right to defend itself with its campaign of airstrikes.

   According to Israeli officials, on Sunday Hezbollah bombarded Israel with 134 rockets, injuring 48 people, only one was seriously hurt.

   At the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan again called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities”, a call that has been resisted by the United States.

   The Security Council stopped short of that, calling for an end to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and warning that continued fighting could have “grave consequences for the humanitarian situation.”

   A Security Council statement expressed the world body‘s “extreme shock and distress” at the Qana bombing and offered its condolences for the deaths.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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