Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The 15 minutes of fame, Nasrallah style
UN official accuses Hezbollah of 'cowardly blending' among civilians
By The Associated Press
LARNACA, Cyprus - The UN humanitarian chief accused Hezbollah late Monday of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel.
The militant group has built bunkers and tunnels near the Israeli border to shelter weapons and fighters, and its members easily blend in among civilians.
Jan Egeland spoke with reporters at the Larnaca airport in Cyprus after a visit to Lebanon on his mission to coordinate an international aid effort.
On Sunday he had toured the rubble of Beirut's southern suburbs, a once-teeming Shiite district where Hezbollah had its headquarters.
During that visit he condemned the killing and wounding of civilians by both sides, and called Israel's offensive "disproportionate" and "a violation of international humanitarian law."
On Monday he had strong words for Hezbollah, which crossed into Israel and captured two Israel Defense Forces soldiers on July 12, triggering fierce fighting from both sides.
"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men.
IDF: Hizbullah preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon
The IDF has found that Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon. Roadblocks have been set up outside some of the villages to prevent residents from leaving, while in other villages Hizbullah is preventing UN representatives from entering, who are trying to help residents leave. In two villages, exchanges of fire between residents and Hizbullah have broken out. (Hanan Greenberg)