More on the Israeli atatck on the civilian convoy

This story from the The New York Times expands on the post yesterday: “Israelis slaughter Lebanese security forces

Before Attack, Confusion Over Clearance for Convoy
By SABRINA TAVERNISE

Karamallah Daher/Reuters
A convoy of refugees from several south Lebanese villages was attacked Friday night. The villagers believed they had been given clearance to pass.

HASBAYA, Lebanon, Aug. 12 — The cars set off down the narrow mountain road a few hours before sunset. They were trying to leave villages the Israeli Army occupied two days before, moving with what they thought was permission to pass.

But then the missiles came. Shortly after nightfall, Israeli aircraft fired into the convoy, containing more than a thousand Lebanese villagers. The military said in a statement that it had received a request for the convoy to move, but had denied it. It said it had suspected that cars in the area contained Hezbollah guerrillas carrying weapons, and only later discovered that the cars were part of the refugee convoy.

Six people were killed and more than 30 were wounded, according to witnesses and Red Cross officials. Among the dead were a Lebanese soldier, a baker, a Red Cross worker and the wife of a mayor of one of the villages.

What followed was a scene of panic under a large yellow moon. Drivers switched off their headlights, afraid of being shot, and frantically began turning around on the narrow road, which runs between two mountains near the winemaking village of Kefraya. An ambulance worker driving with the convoy was killed trying to get to the wounded, and it was an hour before nearby emergency workers could get in to pick up the bodies.

“We saw the light and the sound of the bomb,” said Ronitte Daher, a newspaper reporter from the village of Qlayah, who was traveling in the convoy with her sister. “I got out of the car and heard voices of people crying and shouting.”

She did not know what to do, and switched off her lights. Someone shouted to get out of the car and run for cover. Other cars were driving in reverse. She turned her car around.

“When I was turning, I saw a dead body,” she said. “I know that man. I saw his children crying and shouting, ‘Please help us! Please help us!’ ”

Israeli planes have been striking Lebanese civilians since the beginning of the war, hitting a truckload of fleeing farmers, a Lebanese photographer and a village during a funeral. Even so, Friday’s strike still came as a shock: the convoy was more than 500 cars long and included a town mayor, an entire Lebanese Army unit and its own ambulance.

The Israeli military said it had banned the movement of cars south of the Litani River, though the convoy was hit well north of it.

Crowding may have been part of the problem. The villagers had been waiting in Merj ’Uyun, a few miles south of here, since early Friday. Many had not been out of their houses since the Israelis came late last week, and they were desperate to leave.

Finally, around 4 p.m., they piled behind each other in a long bumper-to-bumper line and began moving out. The road was a mess, torn with large craters, and it took more than two hours to move several miles, according to the mayor of Merj ’Uyun , Fuad Hamra, who was in the convoy.

As soon as the cars were hit, all within about three minutes of one another, drivers farther back began hearing about it on their cellphones and many simply stopped in the dark. Some cars parked in areas that looked safe. Others, like Ms. Daher, drove to Jib Janine, a nearby town. Shortly after the attack, clumps of cars were idling in two parking lots south of Jib Jenine. People stood outside in the bright moonlight.

Ms. Daher stayed in the home of a family she had never met. They gave her water.

“I saw some people,” she said. “I asked it’s safe here? They said, yes, come.”

Ms. Daher, a reporter for Nahar Newspaper, one of Lebanon’s main newspapers, said that she tried to take photographs of the soldiers from the window of her house on Thursday, but that soldiers shot at the house when they saw her.

“They asked people not to look out the windows,” she said, speaking by telephone from Beirut, where she finally arrived Saturday afternoon.

She described a frozen town, in which Israeli soldiers and Lebanese civilians were terrified of one another.

“They are afraid of any movement in the houses, so we tried to keep calm,” she said. Israelis, according to Mr. Hamra and other residents, had destroyed some houses in the villages they occupied late last week, and residents did not feel safe inside their homes.

“They bombed some houses,” she said. “We don’t know why.”

Residents were similarly baffled about the convoy. The Israelis have warned several days ago that they would strike anyone driving south of the Litani River, and reiterated that warning the statement they released Saturday about the mistaken strike. But the convoy was hit far north of the river, after the convoy had passed out of active fighting.

“Something went wrong,” Mr. Hamra said by telephone from Beirut. “We were promised that we would have the clearance from Israelis and the road would be cleared. Neither happened.”

“Probably the clearance wasn’t cleared enough.”

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Israelis slaughter Lebanese security forces and civilians who had earlier been under UN escort

The SMH reports that

the UN Security Council today unanimously called for an immediate end to a month of bloody fighting between Israel and Hezbollah even as the violence claimed more lives.

HOWEVER

Shortly before the long-awaited resolution was passed, at least seven people were killed when Israeli drones attacked a convoy of Lebanese security forces and civilians who had earlier been under UN escort.

The incident saw three Lebanese army vehicles hit and set ablaze, police said. The victims were mostly civilians. The convoy contained hundreds of Lebanese soldiers and civilians fleeing the Israeli bombardments.

More than four weeks of conflict in the region have left more than 1100 dead, mainly in Lebanon.

UN calls for immediate ceasefire – World – smh.com.au: “UN calls for immediate ceasefire”

Atrocities at Qana

Images care of the Sydney Morning Herald


Bodies recovered from under the rubble of a demolished building in the southern village of Qana near the port city of Tyre in Lebanon. The area was struck by Israeli war plane missiles on Sunday July 30, killing over 50 civilians including children. Photo: AP


A civil defense worker carries the body of a child recovered from the rubble. Photo: AP/Nasser Nasser


Children, one as young as 9 months, were removed from under a collapsed building on the outskirts of Qana. People had fled there for protection but the building was hit twice in the missile attack. Photo: Jeroen Kramer


A dead child…one of the many victims of the air strike. Photo: Jeroen Kramer

Pictures from: Atrocities at Qana – smh.com.au

Rape, Murder and State Terrorism

So many disturbing stories today, I’m just going to list them.

US Marines Rape / Murder Trial

First off we have the trial of those soldiers I mentioned a few months ago that raped a girl and then covered it up by killing her and her family. Nice.
Rape and murder described in military court

Iraq's flag. A United States military court heard graphic testimony yesterday on how US soldiers took turns to hold down and rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family.

More from the BBC

From the Observer:
Soldiers ‘hit golf balls before going out to kill family’

Aussie Government forcibly sends refugees home to their deaths

Next, it appears that Australia’s Immigration Department has a case to answer for, again.

Aussies Rejected refugees sent home to die: families tell harrowing stories
NINE rejected asylum seekers forcibly repatriated by Australia to Afghanistan are believed to have been killed upon their return.

Israeli Terrorism Update

And finally, the Israelis are bombing blindly again, last night killing masses of civilians.
Bombing kills 40 in village and cuts relief artery to southern Lebanon

Smoke and fire rises after an Israeli airstrike hit the suburbs of Beirut. AN ISRAELI air raid killed more than 40 people in a Lebanese village and other strikes killed 19.

Israel widens targets to hit civilian sites

ISRAEL plans to ramp up its offensive in Lebanon by attacking the nation’s strategic civilian infrastructure to make Beirut more amenable to ceasefire proposals acceptable to Jerusalem.

Bloody night in Beirut as Israel intensifies aerial bombardment

More die as US and France fail to strike a deal