Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bloody Night in Beirut

But the Beirut attack was the day's bloodiest episode. Last night, local residents and rescue workers scrambled through the rubble and debris in the dark as the insides of an eight-storey building spilled out into a narrow street. Water from a burst pipe in a building opposite sprayed out a fine mist across the wreckage. Neighbouring residents, now stuck in teetering buildings, peered out of the back half of their sitting rooms as splintered furniture dangled out on the street below. A women in her nightdress on the sixth floor tried to retrieve something on what was left of her balcony as a chunk of her front room crashed down on to the street. An ambulance worker said he had counted 10 bodies so far. At least two were children.

Lebanese officials said there were many reports of other casualties throughout southern Lebanon but rescue workers were not able to reach the sites because of continued Israeli airstrikes. Israel also threatened to attack UN peacekeepers if they attempted to repair bomb-damaged bridges in southern Lebanon. UN officials contacted the Israeli army to inform them that a team of Chinese military engineers attached to the UN force in Lebanon intended to repair the bridge on the Beirut to Tyre road to enable the transport of humanitarian supplies.

According to the UN, Israeli officials said the engineers would become a target if they attempted to repair the bridge.

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