Since the Israeli attacks began a week ago, according to the Lebanese government, more than 310 Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed. In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had “serious questions’’ about Israel’s assault, citing the large numbers of Lebanese civilians killed and the extensive damage to the country’s infrastructure. Pierre Krähenbul, the director of operations for the Red Cross, issued a statement saying that “large numbers of civilians in Lebanon are continuously exposed to and frequently victims of bombardments from the air, by artillery or from the sea.”
“We are really facing a humanitarian disaster,” said Sami Haddad, the Lebanese minister of the economy. “The ferocity of this aggression has reached inhuman proportions. The priority for us is a cease-fire. People are dying, civilians are being targeted deliberately. It’s really a tragedy.”
In the Bekaa valley, 11 people were killed in an Israeli bombing of a four-story building in the eastern Lebanese village of Nabi Sheet, near the ancient city of Baalbek. Five more were killed in a bombing of a number of trucks near Maarabun, also near Baalbek.
For the first time, the mainly Christian neighborhood of Ashrafieh was hit by four missiles targeting a pair of trucks in a dusty parking lot deep tucked inside a well-to-do residential neighborhood. The attack took place around midmorning and shook residents — typically French- or English-speaking middle-to-upper-class people — who flocked to their balconies or on the streets to inquire about what happened. The missiles were aimed at a pair of trucks carrying water-bore drilling equipment. They had been parked in the same spot for the past month.
Some residents of nearby buildings, their confidence shaken, decided to pack a small bag or suitcase and head to the relative safety of neighboring mountains.
Nervous passersby scanned the skies for Israeli jets. They could not be seen, but the roar of their engines was unmistakable: there have been no other planes over the skies of Lebanon for the past week.
Based on wire service reports and NY Times online, July 19, 2006