Friday, August 04, 2006

Bombing Beirut's southern suburbs

I arrived home at 1 a.m. after a long day of work. I met my two cousins and their families who came to stay with me after they were displaced from their southern Lebanese village because of heavy Israeli bombing.
I haven't seen them since before I went to Iraq on June 26, so we a long chat about the family as well as the situation in Lebanon.
It was about 2:30 a.m. when I was brushing my teeth and getting ready to go to bed when a load explosion echoed from a distance. I went straight to the bed room, picked up my cellular telephone and called the office to check if they heard the explosion.
"Yes. Israeli warplanes are attacking the southern suburbs," my colleague Joe said. We chatted briefly then hang up.
I opened the windows of my bedroom for fear glass might be shattered in case of an explosion then went to bed. As I laid my head on the pillow, another explosion echoed. I waited for more but nothing happened and went into a deep sleep.
At midday Thursday I went to office and started working on the desk when breaking new came from northern Israel saying that several barrages of rockets fired by Hezbollah have hit the cities of Acre and Maalot killing eight people. Five Lebanese civilians were killed near Marjayoun, Baalbek and Taibeh. Four Israeli soldiers and four Hezbollah guerrillas were killed in border fighting.
The difference between this war and that of 1982 is that 24 years ago the suffering was only on Lebanese territories since the Israeli army was fighting in Lebanon. Israelis were living a normal life with the war tens of miles north of their border.
Later in the afternoon Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets on three neighborhoods in Beirut's southern suburbs calling residents to leave because the area will be bombed. I am afraid that tonight there will be more explosions than the previous one.
After 22 days of fighting, air raids and shelling, the people of Lebanon are tired and looking for a cease fire. I am sure the people in northern Israel, who have been staying in shelters since the war began want the same thing.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned in a televised statement Thursday that if Israeli hit Beirut proper, his group will fire rockets on Tel Aviv. But he also said that if Israeli stopped attacks on civilian targets, his group will too.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the war was launched because Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers, but if this is true, are the deaths on both side of the border worth the return of the two soldier?

Bassem Mroue
Beirut Aug. 3, 2006
1:30 a.m.


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