Militant group providing relief to thousands of refugees
BEIRUT: There has been no let up in the Hizbollah rocket attacks inside Israel, with the group claiming that, for the first time, it had fired rockets that hit a town beyond Haifa. Hizbollah said its fighters had launched Khaibar-1 rockets on Afula.
Israel acknowledged the firing and police said the new type of missile carried 100 kg of explosives. The Lebanese militant group that has been battling Israel since July 12 also sent a barrage of rockets into the Israeli cities of Tiberias and Safed.
Hizbollah declared that Israel had withdrawn from Bint Jbeil, Maroun al-Ras and Aitaroun, two days after nine of its soldiers were killed in the area. Israel on Thursday had decided to restrain its ground intensive, but intensify its air campaign and artillery shelling. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said Israel wanted to establish a "security zone" of 3.2 km inside Lebanese territory.
Israeli officials had earlier said they wished to acquire a buffer zone till the Litani river, 18 km from the border. The war has continued to generate a flood of refugees. In Beirut's Sanaya park the UNICEF has positioned two water tanks at the entrance. The war-displaced gather here in small groups, sitting on the lawns or on benches beneath the shade of eucalyptus trees. Their few personnel belongings, including beddings and mattresses, are spread out in a disorderly manner inside the area. Mohammad Hasan Naimi, a resident of Nabatiyeh told The Hindu that he, along with his mother and sister fled in a taxi to Beirut.
The family, he said, was staying with a relative but was in the park to collect food and other essentials, which were being distributed. He pointed out that the Hizbollah was actively involved in providing relief to the refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said nearly 5,00,000 of the 7,00,000 refugees that the war has generated had taken sheltered in the mountains.
Nearly 43,000 refugees were in the Allay valley, while 22,000 had sheltered in the Shouf mountains. A well-planned relief operation had still not begun because Israel has so far not allowed a U.N. relief convoy to arrive from Syria.