Driving out witnesses before the massacre

July 25, 2006

In News

BEIRUT (Reuters) – An Israeli air strike destroyed on Tuesday a base
run by a United Nations observer force in southern Lebanon causing
casualties, a U.N. spokesman said.

“One aerial bomb directly impacted the building and shelter in the
base of the United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon in the area of Khiam,”
said Milos Strugar, spokesman for the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in the

“There are casualties among the observers. A UNIFIL dispatched rescue
team which is on the spot is still unable to clear the rubble.”

Strugar declined to say if anyone was believed to have died, but it
appears that the entire building collapsed while the U.N. observers were in
the shelter below.

“There were 14 other incidents of firing close to this position in the
afternoon from the Israeli side and the firing continued during the
rescue operation,” he said.

An Israeli tank shell hit a UNIFIL position in southern Lebanon on
Monday, wounding four Ghanaian soldiers. Shrapnel from tank shells fired from
the Israeli side seriously wounded an Indian soldier last week and
Hizbollah fire wounded an Italian observer on the border on Sunday.

In 1996, during Israel’s Grapes of Wrath campaign in Lebanon, an
Israeli jet bombed a UNIFIL compound in the southern village of Qana, killing
106 civilians sheltering inside.

UNIFIL was created in 1978 after Israel’s first major invasion of
southern Lebanon and has been there ever since. The United Nations has called
for a bigger, better armed, more robust international force in the area.

Reuters (IDS)