Tuesday, July 25, 2006

UN Observers Killed by Israeli Missiles

Via CNN:

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- An Israeli airstrike hit a United Nations post in southern Lebanon late Tuesday, killing at least two of the agency's observers, according to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

The U.N. initially reported that four peacekeepers were dead, but later said there were two dead and two missing.

Lebanese security sources said the two missing observers are feared buried in the rubble of the building.

UNIFIL sent a rescue-and-medical team to the city of Khiyam, and the team was trying to clear rubble early Wednesday. Attacks in the vicinity continued as rescuers tried to reach those killed or injured, UNIFIL said.

UNIFIL said there had been at least 14 incidents of fire close to the post since Tuesday afternoon.

Kofi Annan is seriously pissed off, to say the least:

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," he said in a statement.

"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."

Daniel Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the UN told CNN's Wolf Blizter "it could have been Hezbollah". He then said Annan's statement was "outrageous and deplorable" among other select adjectives, demanded an apology from Annan and kept blaming Hezbollah. Then Blitzer, in his infinite obliviousness asked: "Are you suggesting that Hezbollah was responsible for this?" Sometimes, that man can be incredibly dense.

Update: Lest we forget, Israel has also hit Lebanese Red Cross ambulances.

Update: Via WaPo, this is what Annan had originally said about the missile attack:

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Israel to investigate the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the UNIFIL post by Israeli defense forces.

"I call on the government of Israel to conduct a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack on U.N. positions and personnel must stop," Annan said in Rome...

The Bush administration officials are crawling all over each other to get to the mikes first to announce the news that Israel told them "it was an accident". Well, if that's what the Israeli government told them, then the Israeli ambassador whom I quoted above is just full of shit, isn't he? This was not the work of Hezbollah. Flipping propaganda spouting wanker.

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."

Then there's this:

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.

No wonder Annan is angry.

And, if you Google UNIFIL Hezbollah, you'll find a lot of right-wingers who are probably going to be cheering about this attack very soon.

I think it's crunch time for Israel this time around. The whole world is now watching and this time people are actually paying attention.

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