Day of attacks continue in Israel and Lebanon

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fighting continued in Israel and Lebanon as Israel attacked targets in Lebanon using aircrafts and ships. Rockets were fired from Lebanon and landed on the Israeli side of the border, Thursday. Israel called their military action "Operation Just Reward".

The clashes follow a Hezbollah raid into Israel which they called "Truthful Promise" in which Hezbollah claimed to have captured two Israeli soldiers. Israel said the men were kidnapped.

Israeli aircraft launched missiles at Beirut international airport and damaged runways and fuel stores. Additional targets were attacked, including 18 bridges, and a Hezbollah run TV station, Al-Manar, which continued to broadcast after being targeted, but later went partially off air.

45 Lebanese civilians and two soldiers were reported killed as a result of Israeli overnight raids and 103 people were injured. In some areas Israeli planes had dropped leaflets to warn residents to stay away from Hezbollah buildings.

Over 100 rockets were fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel Thursday, which the Israeli Army says are the acts of Hezbollah. Two Israeli civilians were reported killed over 100 injured.

The Lebanese road communications network was targeted: 18 bridges were damaged and early on Friday the highway linking Beirut and Damascus was hit by five Israeli missiles. The highway is the only route out of the country after the airport was shut down. Witnesses said that the road was free from traffic when the missiles hit.

In a television interview, Wednesday July 12, Brigadier Gen. Dan Halutz had told Israel's Channel 10 that if the Israeli soldiers were not returned Israel would "turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years". He also said of Lebanon "nothing is safe."

Lebanon

Beirut International Airport

File photo of Rafic Hariri International Airport

Israeli airforce attacked Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport in the Lebanese capital twice on Thursday. The first airstrike hit the airport runways. The second strike, which took place after Haifia in Israel was hit by two rockets, destroyed fuel tanks at the airport. The attacks forced cancellation of all flights to and from the airport and the closure of the facility, police and airport officials said.

Places attacked

  • Two Lebanese army air bases were attacked.
  • Lebanon says two families of 10 and seven members respectively were killed in their homes in Dweir by Israeli attacks.
  • The Hezbollah supported TV station Al-Manar was hit by an Israeli missile, but the broadcasting continued according to an official at the station. However, an antenna in the town of Baalbek stopped transmitting. One person at the site was injured.
  • A civic station near Baalbek was hit.
  • The highway between Beirut and Damascus was hit by at least five missiles fired by an Israeli aircraft.
  • The highway leading to Sidon through Rmeileh has been bombed. All roads are cut off.
  • Israeli warplanes raid Almanar TV in Southern Beirut (Hezbollah TV station) and one of its affiliates in Nabatiyeh.
  • 18 bridges were hit causing an estimated $25 million damages. Among those hit were the Litani River Bridge, the Qaaqaaiet Bridge, Deir Zahrani-Roumin Bridge, Zahrani River Bridge, Kfarmen Yarmuk Bridge, Green Valley Bridge, Siblin-Wadi Zeina Bridge, Siniq Bridge, Khardaleh Bridge, Damour-South Bridge and two bridges on the Awali river. Damage ranged from completely destroyed to severe or damaged.

Other Israeli actions

  • Israeli warplanes flew over Beirut at 8:00AM local time, July 14th
  • Israeli planes dropped leaflets over Shiite areas of southern Beirut which told residents to stay away from Hezbollah buildings.
  • Israeli naval forces set up a blockade of the Lebanese coast.

Notes

  • Israel claims their offensive is in retaliation to Wednesday's attack by Hezbollah on an Israeli border patrol and what Hezbollah called the capture of two Israeli soldiers. Israel said the soldiers - Ehud Goldwasser, 31, and Eldad Regev, 26 - were kidnapped.

Northern Israel

Israel claims that at least two civilians died and others injured as over 100 rockets, including the Katyusha and Thunder 1, landed in northern Israel, including Haifia on Thursday. Israel said the attacks were from Hezbollah.

File photo showing what the Katyusha rockets Hezbollah used are similar too. These ones, mounted on launch rails, are a museum example.

Places attacked

  • Two rockets were fired into Haifa, the third largest city in Israel. The attack did not result in any damage or injuries. Israeli police said both rockets hit the Stella Maris district of Haifia which is an area popular with tourists.
  • A house in Nahariya, ten kilometers south of the Israeli-Lebanon border, was hit killing a woman, while 29 others were wounded.
  • The town of Safed was hit by four rockets, one civilian was killed and 11 wounded. Of the three who sustained serious injuries, two were children.
  • Rockets hit the town of Karmiel, but there were no injuries.
  • In the village of Majdal Qrum (Majd el-Kurum) a civilian was injured.
  • In the small town of Zirit a civilian was slightly injured.
  • In an attack at night Mount Meron was hit by 10 rockets; there were no casualties.
  • A civilian airstrip was damaged near Rosh Pina Hatzor.
  • Rockets landed in Hatzor.

Notes

  • Hezbollah denied the attack on Haifia but Hezbollah deputy leader Sheik Naim Kassem said they would attack the city with its population of 270,000 if "Beirut or its southern suburbs are attacked," .
  • Nahariya Mayor Jackie Sabag urged residents to stay in their shelters. In Nahariya Hospital patients and pregnant mothers were moved to lower floors and underground shelter.
  • Hezbollah say they have for the first time used a new rocket called "Thunder 1". This rocket are said to be more accurate than the Katyusha rocket the group has used earlier.
  • Israeli ambassador to the United States said the attack on Haifia, Israel's third largest city, was an escalation. "They have more than 10,000 rockets. For them to do this, in Haifa is a major escalation," said Daniel Ayalon.

International reaction

Flag of Israel.svg Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had called the first Hezbollah attack on Israel "an act of war." Israel also blamed Iran and Syria for the attacks[1].

Flag of Palestine.svg The Palestinian group Hamas described Hezbollah's July 12 attack on Israel "heroic." "This is a heroic operation carried out against military targets and so it is a legitimate operation, especially as it took place in occupied Lebanese territory," said Hamas political bureau member Mohammad Nazzal.

Flag of Europe.svg The European Union called Israel's use of force in Lebanon "disproportionate" but demanded Hezbollah release the two Israeli soldiers.

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg The United Kingdom asked for "restraint on all sides". "We call for the urgent release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, and an end to attacks on Israeli towns and cities. And we urge all those countries with influence over Hezbollah and Hamas to play their part," said Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. But "while Israel is entitled to do what is required to protect its security, it should do so in a way which does not escalate the situation and which is proportionate and measured, conforms to international law, and avoids civilian deaths and suffering."

Flag of the United States.svg While a Whitehouse spokesman said America "recognised Israel's right to defend itself", U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Israel to be more restrained. Rice also told Syria to get Hezbollah to stop their attacks on Israel.

Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese ministers want a ceasefire with Israel.

Flag of the Arab League.svg The Arab League want an emergency meeting to discuss the Israeli-Lebanon crisis. Yemen asked for an official Arab summit. "We are concerned about an escalation," said an Arab League official.

Flag of Iran.svg Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that an Israeli strike on Syria would be considered "attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response".

In related news, the United States vetoed a UN condemnation of Israel on Thursday. The draft vetoed was proposed by Qatar and demanded that Israel pulled back its forces from the Gaza Strip.

Economic impact

The turmoil in the Middle East has led to record high prices for oil, which is now trading at $76.70 a barrel.

The stock market in Tel Aviv closed down 4.3 percent on Thursday. The Shekel has also slipped against the dollar.

Other international events are also having it say on stock markets worldwide as investors are keeping their eyes on North Korea and Iran's nuclear ambitions in addition to the situation in the Middle East.

Thomas McIntyre at McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn put it this way: "We're having a complete breakdown in attitude toward the stock market. In a declining market, everything that's wrong in the world seems more important."


Related news

Sources

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