Israel-Hezbollah War

A view of the July-August 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war from an Israeli living in Haifa (under Katyusha rocket attack)- send personal comments to david2@lisbona.com

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Katyusha Rockets on Haifa


I never thought I would be reporting to you that missiles are falling on Haifa where Irit, I and my father live. But so it is.

Background
They are being fired at a range of targets in northern Israel by the Hezbollah, a Lebanese Moslem Shia political party and terrorist organization which has been outlawed by the USA and some European countries. The Hezbollah is basically Iran’s agent on Israel’s northern border, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah and http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4314423.stm
The rockets that are being fired at Israel are Katyusha rockets – see http://www.iris.org.il/katyusha.htm and http://www.veteranen.info/~cedarsouthlebanon/kat/kateng.htm which the Hezbollah has had for many years and used often against Israel’s northern towns and settlements. The innovation in the current conflagration is the use of longer range Iranian- and Syrian-produced rockets which have ranges up to 75 kilometers enabling Hezbollah to target larger population centres including Haifa, Israel’s 3rd largest city.

How this war started
Israel has intermittently had problems with guerilla or rocket attacks from Lebanon since the early 1980’s and Israel first invaded Southern Lebanon in 1982. Israel retreated to a 20km-wide security zone next to Israel’s border in 1985 but guerilla attacks on Israel continued until May 2000 when Israel withdrew completely from Lebanon. The Hezbollah kidnapped and killed 3 Israeli soldiers in cold blood in 2002 but the then Israeli government chose not to counterattack. Last Wednesday Hezbollah mounted a border raid against Israeli soldiers on patrol , killed 8 and captured 2 for bargaining against Lebanese terrorist detainees in Israeli jails. The Israeli government chose this time (with the massive support of Jewish Israelis) to react severely and to try and cripple the Hezbollah fighting and rocket-launching ability, hopefully for once and for all. The Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi governments have severely criticized Hezbollah. Their only supporters are Syria and Iran who have supplied them with their incredible arsenal of short-,medium- and long-range missiles.

What’s happening on the ground
The Israeli Air Force is bombing hundreds of Hezbollah targets (and some infrastructure targets in Lebanon) with much damage and regrettable loss of life also of civilians.
Since Wednesday Hezbollah has launched over 1000 (one thousand) Katyusha rockets against population centres in Israel, mostly the smaller towns and villages close to the Lebanese border. On Friday one “Katyusha” landed in Haifa (causing some damage but no injury – we didn’t hear it, it wasn’t close, we heard about it on the TV news. It showed that the Hezbollah have the capacity to hit Haifa and this morning (Sunday) just after 9.a.m. we heard a number of “booms” which were evidently Katyusha rockets hitting the ground. In that first attack of the day on Haifa 8 railway workers were killed. Later in the day we were told on TV that air raid sirens could give 1 minute warning of impending strikes and 3 times Irit and I rushed down to the shelter in our basement and within 30 seconds we heard several “booms”. All this of course reminded us of the Scud missile attacks on Israel from Iraq in the first Gulf War in 1991.

I didn’t believe that rockets would land on Haifa, and, when they did on Thursday evening I was sure it was a one-time event. Irit’s elder son and daughter-in-law were wary of coming to us for dinner on Friday evening and asked if our shelter was clean and could hold several people. I though they were being ridiculously hysterical. Once we had 12 rocket attacks on Haifa today I’m not so sure. My common-sense tells me it’s unlikely there will be more attacks on Haifa now that Hezbollah’s capabilities are being seriously attacked. Rationally I know the chances of a rocket hitting any one house or family are very small, and yet it’s scary. We are fine, nothing has happened to us (and I hope nothing will) and I’ll keep you posted.

Hoping for a quiet night and a quiet tomorrow

1 Comments:

Anonymous Marc said...

As a friend of Israel with many Israeli friends I wish you well in the harsh conditions you face. I hope you guys exterminate Hizbollah. And World Opinion? Screw 'em.

Minor quibble. It's not cool to hotlink someone else's image. It steals bandwidth from someone else who pays for it. Often people who have their images hotlinked find the image has been changed to something embarrasing. I'm not going to do anything like that at this time.

BTW Photobucket (http://photobucket.com/) offers free image hosting. You can copy the image from my blog and upload it there - no problem. You can also upload photos that you took and post them on your blog.

Good luck and shalom.

7:24 AM  

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