"We have heard from the Israelis that it was an accident"
UN Facility at Khiyam
The aftermath of the Israeli terror bombing at Khiyam, in which four U.N. observers were killed.
The last thing the Israelis want are witnesses.
Airstrike Hits U.N. Post in Lebanon
Washington Post | July 25, 2006; 6:50 PM
JERUSALEM, July 25 -- An Israeli air and artillery attack hit a United Nations observation post near the Israel-Lebanon border Tuesday, killing four members of a U.N. peacekeeping force, U.N. officials announced. The bomb struck a post in Khiyam, near the eastern end of the border with Israel, manned by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, U.N. spokesperson Marie Okabe said.
UNIFIL spokesman Milos Struger said in Lebanon Tuesday that Israeli forces continued firing close to the U.N. post even during a rescue operation. Since the conflict began, he said, a civilian employee of UNIFIL and his wife have also been killed, and five UNIFIL soldiers and one military observer have been wounded.
A senior State Department official said Israel had informed the Bush administration that the attack on the U.N. post was an accident. "It was a terrible tragedy," said the senior official, traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "We have heard from the Israelis that it was an accident."
UN: OBSERVERS MADE MANY CALLS BEFORE STRIKE
CNN | July 26, 2006 1223 GMT
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- The U.N. observers killed when an Israeli bomb hit their bunker in Lebanon Tuesday called an Israeli military liaison about 10 times in the six hours before they died to warn that aerial attacks were getting close to their position, a U.N. officer said. After each call, the Israeli officer promised to have the bombing stopped, an officer at the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) base in Noqoura said. Finally, an Israeli bomb exploded directly on the U.N. post near Khiyam, killing four U.N. observers from Austria, Finland, Canada and China, the U.N. officer said.
As of Wednesday morning (July 26), three of the four bodies had been recovered from the rubble, an officer at the UNIFIL base in Noqoura said. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the incident would be "thoroughly investigated" and that the Israeli military had taken measures since the start of its bombardment of southern Lebanon to protect the U.N. observers there. "Israel would never deliberately target U.N. personnel," Mark Regev said. According to Regev, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called U.N.Secretary-General Kofi Annan and "expressed his regret at this tragedy in Lebanon."
Annan issued a sharply worded statement Tuesday evening which said he was "shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting ... of a U.N. observer post in southern Lebanon." He called on Israel to conduct "a full investigation into this very disturbing incident."
"This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked U.N. post at Khiyam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that U.N. positions would be spared Israeli fire," Annan said.
"Furthermore, General Alain Pelligrini, the U.N. force commander in south Lebanon, had been in repeated contact with Israeli officers throughout the day on Tuesday, stressing the need to protect that particular U.N. position from attack."
The timeline provided CNN by a U.N. officer in Lebanon showed the first bomb exploded about 200 yards from the U.N. outpost at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday, prompting the first call by the UNIFIL observers to their designated contact with the Israeli military. The officer said they were assured by the Israeli liaison that he would stop the attacks. A series of about nine more bombs hit within 100 to 400 yards from the observers over the next several hours, with a call to the Israeli military following each explosion. The U.N. base at Noqoura lost contact with the outpost at 7:40 p.m., apparently the time of the direct hit, the officer said.
ISRAELI TROOPS 'IGNORED' UN PLEA
BBC News | July 26, 2006 12:56:36 GMT
UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon contacted Israeli troops 10 times before an Israeli bomb killed four of them, an initial UN report says. The post was hit by a precision-guided missile after six hours of shelling nearby, diplomats familiar with the initial probe into the deaths say....The four unarmed UN observers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland, died after their UN post was hit by an Israeli air strike on Tuesday. The UN report says each time the UN contacted Israeli forces, they were assured the firing would stop.
Israel is conducting an investigation into the deaths, and has rejected accusations made by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that the targeting of the UN position was "apparently deliberate".
IRISH OFFICER WARNED ISRAEL ON THREAT TO UN STAFF
DUBLIN, July 26 (Reuters) - An Irish army officer in south Lebanon warned the Israeli military six times that their attacks in the area were putting the lives of U.N. observers at risk, Ireland's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Four U.N. observers were killed in an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon on Tuesday.
"On six separate occasions he was in contact with the Israelis to warn them that their bombardment was endangering the lives of U.N. staff in South Lebanon," a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said.
"He warned: 'You have to address this problem or lives may be lost'," the spokesman said of comments by a senior Irish soldier working as a liaison officer between U.N. forces in South Lebanon and the Israelis.
"THE SHELLING OF THE UN POSITIONS BEGAN EARLY IN THE MORNING AND CARRIED ON ALL DAY"
“Mr. Olmert definitely believes it was a mistake,” said Mr. Annan, referring to Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert. But despite at least 10 calls from United Nations personnel to Israel that their positions were being shelled, Mr. Annan added, “The shelling of the U.N. positions began early in the morning and carried on all day.”
NY Times July 26 2006 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26cnd-lebanon.html
Other Israeli "Accidents"
ATTACK ON THE USS LIBERTY IN 1967
A clearly marked US intelligence vessel was attacked for hours by Israeli war planes and war ships. The surviving American sailors were sworn to secrecy concerning the "accidental" Israeli attack.
MASSACRE IN UN REFUGEE CAMP IN 1996
During an Israeli offensive against Lebanon in 1996, Israeli artillery blasted a U.N. refugee camp at Qana in southern Lebanon, killing more than 100 civilians who had sought sanctuary with UN peacekeepers. It was a deliberate Israeli massacre of Arab women and children which went--as usual--unpunished, having no impact whatsoever on the unstinting flow of US taxpayer cash to the Israeli killers, and of course no prosecution for a war crime. The Israelis claimed the massacre was an "accident."--M. Hoffman II
BOMBINGS OF PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS 2000-2006
There have been dozens of mass killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces. Almost of all of these are explained away as "accidents...mistaken identity, stray cannon fire, stray missiles."
"The Zionists are the world's most accomplished and brazen liars."
— Michael Hoffman