More About that Bombing…

As I wrote a few days ago, there has been widespread outrage in certain precincts about the bombing of a UN observer outpost in Southern Lebanon by the Israeli Air Force. Kofi Annan immediately lashed out with the accusation that the targeting was intentional. Prime Minister Olmert rejected this charge but pledged a full and public investigation into the matter.

A few days have passed, the smoke has cleared a bit, and a picture is starting to emerge. The Ottawa Citizen has a very interesting piece based on an e-mail sent by a Canadian United Nations observer just days before he was killed in the Israeli strike. The e-mail indicates that Hezbollah was using the post as a “shield” to fire rockets into Israel.

“What I can tell you is this,” he wrote in an e-mail to CTV dated July 18. “We have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both (Israeli) artillery and aerial bombing. The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters (sic) of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters (sic) from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity.”
[emphasis my own].

And from a Los Angeles Times dispatch to the south of Lebanon.

“Hezbollah guerrillas also endanger U.N. troops by systematically setting up rocket launches alongside U.N. bases, either in the hope that Israel will think twice before firing back, or with the cynical aim of generating bad publicity for Israel by enticing it to bomb peacekeeping troops. They had sidled up to the U.N. bases to strike Israel at least four times in 24 hours this week, officials here said.”

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