[Marxism] "They're shooting at us"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 25 07:42:33 MDT 2006


http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1195265.ece
'They're shooting at us. We need to leave the area now'
Donald Macintyre watches as Israel's army comes under attack on Lebanese border
Published: 25 July 2006

There was an Israeli officer and two soldiers, tense and sweating from the 
July heat, in the white van which drove south at speed to where the 
armoured personnel carriers and Caterpillar D9 bulldozers were parked.

"We almost got hit by an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade]," the officer 
shouted. "It missed us by 40 metres." Leaving the van, the officer gave 
instructions to a group of soldiers against the background of explosions 
from repeated shelling in the middle distance. One of them immediately took 
control and yelled at his comrades: "We were exposed. We need to move 
quickly. They're shooting at us. Everybody needs to leave the area now. Get 
into the bushes. Don't go in groups. Get the hell out of here."

Turning the corner, he came upon a mobile shop parked beside the road for 
the soldiers and shouted again: "We were exposed. Get your kit and leave 
the area." As the APCs slowly turned and lumbered about 200 metres back to 
their new position below the treeline, smoke ­ whether or not from earlier 
Hizbollah mortar fire ­ could be seen rising from the fields not more than 
100 metres or so away.

This incident yesterday, the location of which cannot be given because of 
Israeli military censorship regulations, no doubt says little about the 
whole picture of expanding ground operations launched along Israel's 
northern border with Lebanon. The army said yesterday that having taken the 
Lebanese border village of Maroun ar-Ras, its troops had taken a hilltop 
near Bint Jbeil, deeper into southern Lebanon, and then entered the village.

But it was a small reminder that that the armoured ground operations Israel 
has launched both to create a mile wide sterile zone along the Lebanese 
side of the border and to find and eliminate the well prepared network of 
bunkers and tunnels Hizbollah has established over the past six years are 
no easy ride. Seven soldiers were killed in the fighting around Maroun 
ar-Ras last week, and yesterday two more were killed and another 16 wounded 
in heavy exchanges of fire around Bint Jbeil.

Near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shimona, smoke rose, coloured 
yellow by the sinking sun, from an extensive brush fire. There was also 
smoke rising near the hilltop where two pilots were killed when an Apache 
helicopter crashed on its way to support the ground troops round Bint 
Jbeil. The Israel Defence Forces had not eliminated the possibility that it 
had been shot down.

While insisting that the aerial bombardment had dealt some "good blows" to 
the guerrilla group, IDF officers have not attempted to disguise the level 
of Hizbollah resistance. Equally they have expressed "no doubt" that the 
ground operation will succeed, given time. Israeli media yesterday quoted 
IDF estimates that it had a week to 10 days before a ceasefire is called.

There were few more incongruous sights yesterday than the arrival at the 
front of a self-proclaimed "Mitzvah tank", one of 11 that Chabad, an 
orthodox Jewish sect, has long liked to send to war zones. In reality the 
"tank" is a coach emblazoned with slogans such as "Family Purity" and "Love 
Your Fellow Jew". One of the group, Chaim Nevo, 50, said they had arrived 
"to save the soldiers and give them power", proclaiming that the war had 
started because the government had abandoned parts of "greater Israel". 
"The Torah says that if someone is trying to kill you, you have to kill him 
first," he said.

Returning westwards yesterday along the border, you could see yellow 
Hizbollah flags at two or three points along the ridge to the south ­ 
including on the edge of Maroun ar-Ras, where Israeli forces had apparently 
not yet bothered to take them down. And two low-loaders carrying mobile 
artillery units moved north, closer to the border.

There was an Israeli officer and two soldiers, tense and sweating from the 
July heat, in the white van which drove south at speed to where the 
armoured personnel carriers and Caterpillar D9 bulldozers were parked.

"We almost got hit by an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade]," the officer 
shouted. "It missed us by 40 metres." Leaving the van, the officer gave 
instructions to a group of soldiers against the background of explosions 
from repeated shelling in the middle distance. One of them immediately took 
control and yelled at his comrades: "We were exposed. We need to move 
quickly. They're shooting at us. Everybody needs to leave the area now. Get 
into the bushes. Don't go in groups. Get the hell out of here."

Turning the corner, he came upon a mobile shop parked beside the road for 
the soldiers and shouted again: "We were exposed. Get your kit and leave 
the area." As the APCs slowly turned and lumbered about 200 metres back to 
their new position below the treeline, smoke ­ whether or not from earlier 
Hizbollah mortar fire ­ could be seen rising from the fields not more than 
100 metres or so away.

This incident yesterday, the location of which cannot be given because of 
Israeli military censorship regulations, no doubt says little about the 
whole picture of expanding ground operations launched along Israel's 
northern border with Lebanon. The army said yesterday that having taken the 
Lebanese border village of Maroun ar-Ras, its troops had taken a hilltop 
near Bint Jbeil, deeper into southern Lebanon, and then entered the village.

But it was a small reminder that that the armoured ground operations Israel 
has launched both to create a mile wide sterile zone along the Lebanese 
side of the border and to find and eliminate the well prepared network of 
bunkers and tunnels Hizbollah has established over the past six years are 
no easy ride. Seven soldiers were killed in the fighting around Maroun 
ar-Ras last week, and yesterday two more were killed and another 16 wounded 
in heavy exchanges of fire around Bint Jbeil.

Near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shimona, smoke rose, coloured 
yellow by the sinking sun, from an extensive brush fire. There was also 
smoke rising near the hilltop where two pilots were killed when an Apache 
helicopter crashed on its way to support the ground troops round Bint 
Jbeil. The Israel Defence Forces had not eliminated the possibility that it 
had been shot down.

While insisting that the aerial bombardment had dealt some "good blows" to 
the guerrilla group, IDF officers have not attempted to disguise the level 
of Hizbollah resistance. Equally they have expressed "no doubt" that the 
ground operation will succeed, given time. Israeli media yesterday quoted 
IDF estimates that it had a week to 10 days before a ceasefire is called.

There were few more incongruous sights yesterday than the arrival at the 
front of a self-proclaimed "Mitzvah tank", one of 11 that Chabad, an 
orthodox Jewish sect, has long liked to send to war zones. In reality the 
"tank" is a coach emblazoned with slogans such as "Family Purity" and "Love 
Your Fellow Jew". One of the group, Chaim Nevo, 50, said they had arrived 
"to save the soldiers and give them power", proclaiming that the war had 
started because the government had abandoned parts of "greater Israel". 
"The Torah says that if someone is trying to kill you, you have to kill him 
first," he said.

Returning westwards yesterday along the border, you could see yellow 
Hizbollah flags at two or three points along the ridge to the south ­ 
including on the edge of Maroun ar-Ras, where Israeli forces had apparently 
not yet bothered to take them down. And two low-loaders carrying mobile 
artillery units moved north, closer to the border.

--

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