The Bos\’un Locker

During times of war and during times of peace, we must prepare for tomorrow with the realities of today.

Annan Mum on Hizballah’s Wounding of UN Workers

Posted by thebosun on August 7, 2006

Courtesy of CNS NEWS.Com
Article was written by Jeff McKay Correspondent
August 07, 2006 – A Hizballah-based mortar attack, which fell short of its target in Israel on Sunday and injured three Chinese members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), has received scant media attention and no reaction from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Late last month, after four U.N. peacekeepers were killed in an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon, Annan said he was “shocked and deeply distressed” at the “apparently deliberate targeting” of the outpost.

While information about Sunday’s incident was not immediately available from the United Nations in New York, news accounts in China reported that “A Hizballah rocket hit the Chinese contingent headquarters at 11:55 am local time (0855 GMT), causing three peacekeepers [to be] lightly injured,” according to a text report from China’s Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese account added that the three UNIFIL soldiers were rushed to a hospital inside the headquarters and “their condition was stable.”

Chinese authorities were quick to condemn the attack, shortly after they had called on the governments of Israel and Lebanon to ensure the safety of U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon.

“China is seriously concerned and strongly displeased with the incident,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang stated in a report by Xinhua. However, the United Nations has yet to condemn Hizballah’s firing on the U.N. compound.

According to the U.N., there have been four incidents of the Israeli military firing close to UNIFIL Headquarters in the town of Naqoura and positions in the general area of Bayt Yahun and Hula in southern Lebanon since Hizballah’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers sparked hostilities in July.

On Sunday, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora condemned the Israeli bombing in the town of Hula where he reported that 40 civilians had been killed in “a deliberate massacre.” Siniora called the victims “martyrs.”

Less than 24 hours later, Siniora revised the death toll to a single person. “The massacre in Hula, it turned out that there was one person killed,” Siniora told reporters Monday. “They thought that the whole building smashed on the heads of about 40 people …. Thank God they have been saved.”

There have been documented incidents where members of UNIFIL have come dangerously close to Israeli military fire from the air and on the ground. While those incidents have made headlines, especially the strike that hit the U.N. observer post near the Lebanon-Israel border killing four UNIFIL staffers, there is only rare mention about the proximity of Hizballah positions to the U.N. bases.

Israel has maintained that it fires on positions where Hizballah rockets and missiles have originated. Israel has stated that Hizballah in many cases has fired these weapons from civilian populated areas and in the cases documented by UNIFIL, from positions close to U.N. workers.

According to a UNIFIL report dated July 31, Hizballah rockets and small arms fire originated from a location near a UNIFIL headquarters. Israel returned fire to that and other Hizballah rocket launching positions.

“One (Israeli) aerial bomb impacted in the vicinity of a U.N. position in the area of Alma Ash Shab yesterday morning, causing damage to the perimeter wall. It was reported that Hizballah fired rockets from the vicinity of this UNIFIL position prior to the aerial bombardment. Hizballah also fired small arms fire from the vicinity of the same position,” the UNIFIL report stated.

On Aug. 1, UNIFIL documents reported that “Hizballah fired mortar rounds from the vicinity of three UNIFIL positions in the area of Tibnin, Hariss, and At Tiri.”

An Aug. 3, a UNIFIL report obtained by Cybercast News Service showed that other Hizballah rocket fire had hit United Nations positions.

“One rocket from the Hizballah side impacted directly on a UNIFIL position in the general area of Hula yesterday evening, causing extensive material damage, but no casualties. Half an hour later, another rocket from the Hizballah side impacted directly on the same UNIFIL position, causing additional material damage, but no casualties. Hizballah also fired rockets from the vicinity of four UN positions in the areas of Alma Ash Shab, Marwahin, Tibnin, and At Tiri,” the Aug. 3 UNIFIL report stated.

On Aug. 4, UNIFIL documents reported that “Hizballah fired rockets from the vicinity of two U.N. positions in the general area of Alma Ash Shab and At Tiri.”

On Aug. 5, UNIFIL documents reported that “there was one incident of Hizballah firing rockets from the vicinity of the U.N. position in the general area of Tibnin.”

There were also three incidents of Hizballah guerillas firing rockets from the vicinity of UNIFIL positions in the general area of Tibnin, Tiri and Bayt Yahun, according to a UNIFIL report dated Aug. 6.

In a separate report filed by UNIFIL dated Aug. 7, “Two missiles from an unknown source impacted in the vicinity of a UNIFIL logistic convoy in El Addaisseh.

“This morning, Hizballah fired rockets from the vicinity of the U.N. position in Tibnin, and the IAF (Israeli Air Force) carried out air strikes on the areas from which the fire originated,” the report stated. “There were no injuries or damage to UNIFIL property,” as a result of Israeli air strikes. UNIFIL, the report declared, “strongly protested all these incidents to the Lebanese and Israeli authorities respectively.”

UNIFIL has also noted that in at least one case, its relief operations have come under “small arms” fire on the ground in southern Lebanon near the town of Markaba, causing damage to a UNIFIL armored personnel carrier. UNIFIL did not specify who attacked the convoy.

However, the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) blamed Israel for attacking a vehicle traveling ahead of its convoy during an IAF air strike north of Tyre.

According to the OCHA report on the incident, the two individuals occupying the vehicle traveling ahead of the relief convoy were killed, however, “there were no injuries to the four UN staff accompanying the convoy or damage to convoy vehicles.”

In a separate incident according to UNIFIL, a July 25 report specifically stated that Hizballah had attacked a U.N. convoy, damaging vehicles and forcing that aid convoy to return to its base.

“This morning, Hizballah opened small arms fire at a UNIFIL convoy consisting of two armored personnel carriers (APC) on the road between Kunin and Bint Jubayl. There was some damage to the APCs, but no casualties, and the convoy was obliged to return to Kunin,” the UNIFIL report stated.

According to the United Nations, since the outbreak of hostilities, four U.N. military observers assigned to UNIFIL, one UNIFIL international staff member and his wife were killed. Eleven others have been wounded.


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