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Questions

I was looking for information about a post I’m going to put together explaining some of the groups involved in the latest crisis and how they are related to each other, when I came across a number of reports about the “raid” in which Hezbollah captured two Israelis. Almost all media reports are saying it occurred near the town of Aita al Shaab, which is 15 kilometers from the Mediterranean Coast.

It took a while to find this map which has enough detail to show the town, called Aaito ech Chaab by the people who created the map at the American University of Beirut.

Having located the area I used the Google satellite photos to get a close look at the terrain and I was puzzled. Did Hezbollah acquire Invisibility Cloaks? This attack took place at 9:00AM local time, which is broad daylight. The ground cover, as befits a border that is tense is cleared away on both sides of a barrier giving clear fields of vision. Another question arose from this question of a local blogger in the area: Why is the Israeli tank destroyed in the original incident sitting in Lebanon near Aita al-Shabb?

I don’t think we can assume that Hezbollah attacked an Israeli patrol in Israel. There are UN people in that area. Has anyone asked them what happened? When a UN outpost was struck the other day, Israel said it was a Hezbollah rocket, but the UN said it was an Israeli artillery round.

If an investigation shows that the initial incident took place in Lebanon, how do you justify the Israeli actions?

5 comments

1 Karen { 07.23.06 at 8:50 am }

Interesting…it’s the *what we don’t know* effect – since most folks would be too lazee and/or not knowledgeable enough to track down this map and *ask* questions…they accept the MSM version of events.

One book I read a while back to gain some further background information of the conflicts (lacking your well-traveled experience in that region) – One Palestine Complete – was full of examples like this where the media was played by all sides to craft scenarios of *supposed* attacks and blame it on the other side as an *excuse* for further agression and actions.

So was this a Set-up? Or circumstances now spun as a provocation from Hezbollah ignoring the provocation by Israeli soldiers inside Lebanon. Given their history it could just be the event Israel wanted to *spin* as a reason to attack Lebanon (and Hezbollah)…and fight GW’s proxy war (with US backing and support – of course).

Most intriguing.

2 Bryan { 07.23.06 at 9:58 am }

It could be two groups of bored idiots on opposite sides of a border playing games, which happened more than people ever heard about in Europe during the Cold War.

Tanks are not fast and there are a lot of things to slow them up on the Lebanese side of the border. I’m having trouble believing it wasn’t already on the Lebanese side when this started.

There are a lot of innocent people dying over an incident that is questionable, and no one asking questions.

3 cmar { 07.25.06 at 7:46 pm }

I have to say that I am in agreement with you all. I always felt there was something suspect about this whole thing and it is not like Israel doesn’t have a history of ‘false-flag ops” under its belt (lavron affair being one).

I have found though that as far as MSM, msnbc were one of the first to report that Israeli troops had been captured in Southern Lebanon, but then changed their story after an “official statement” from the Israeli government.

I did find this statement on a couple of different sources “A statement faxed to media outlets in the region also said: “At 09.05 this morning, the Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers near the border with occupied Palestine, and the captives have been moved to a safe area.”

I believe from israel’s side it leaves where the actual capture took place a little ambiguous to say the least and were, in my view just stalling for time to come up with their “official statement” as to the goings on.

4 brian { 07.28.06 at 7:51 pm }

Thanks for that investigation…I finally know where Aita Shaab is!

I received the following from Gabriel Ash, who seems to accept the official version:

’14 July 2006
08:47 AM
BBC Monitoring Middle East
English
(c) 2006 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved. No material may be reproduced except with the express permission of The British Broadcasting Corporation.

Text of report by Radwan Uqayl headlined “The two prisoners were transferred from Khallat Wardah to Ayta al-Sha’b wrapped in blankets”, published by Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar website on 13 July

The Khallat Wardah locality on the outskirts of the Ayta al-Sha’b town was the scene of the military confrontations that took place yesterday between the Israeli army and the “Islamic Resistance”, which kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a quality operation at 0905 hours at a time when farmers were working their fields, picking tobacco.

The operation was preceded by an Israeli alert in the area, the degree of which had gradually increased in the past few days, but nevertheless Hezbollah believes that the Israelis fell in an “intelligence failure”.

International envoys had informed the Hezbollah leadership in the past few days that the Israeli army intended to carry out training exercises on the border on how to avoid its soldiers being captured. This was tantamount to a warning message to Hezbollah.

Now to the details of the operation: A direct confrontation occurred between the two sides in Khallat Wardah, which was accompanied by an intensive exchange of fire. In a few minutes, the resistance fighters succeeded in capturing two soldiers who were in an armoured vehicle in which there were eight occupants. The element of surprise was in favour of the resistance fighters, who fired a rocket that hit the armoured vehicle. Six Israeli soldiers were wounded and two were captured.

At the same time, the Al-Rahib position belonging to Hezbollah was firing rockets at the Israeli al-Rahib position. A few meters away from these two positions there is a UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] outpost and an Israeli outpost called “Al-Hadab”. In this area there are olive tree orchards and oak woods. The Zarit settlement is nearby. Khallat Wardah is 15 minutes away on foot from Ayta al-Sha’b.

Sources close to the Islamic Resistance said it had launched a barrage of rockets to cover the transfer of the two prisoners to “friendly” territory.

At 1030 hours, a Merkava tank tried to retrieve some equipment from the battlefield, but it was targeted by a roadside bomb, which ripped apart its turret. All the soldiers in the tank were either killed or wounded. Another Merkava tank tried to repeat the attempt at 1830 hours, but it received a direct hit by a rocket fired by the resistance fighters. Meanwhile, Israeli helicopters were flying overhead.

The sources said the resistance fighters who carried out yesterday’s operation were an elite of professional fighters, who underwent special courses.

Al-Nahar has learned that the “Islamic Resistance” fighters transferred the two Israeli prisoners to Ayta al-Sha’b and put them in Al-Nadi al-Husayni [Shi’i mosque and religious seminary] for about five minutes. A number of the town’s inhabitants saw the prisoners being led into the club where their clothes were quickly changed.

A woman in the town said “the resistance fighters wrapped the two prisoners in blankets”. She said the two prisoners were most probably alive.

Several cars then came and transferred the two prisoners to an unknown destination. One of these cars was a cab.

It should be recalled that Khallat Wardah was a staging point for the Palestinian resistance operations during the 1960s. During the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, it was a transit point for the smuggling of drugs to Israel.

Source: Al-Nahar website, Beirut, in Arabic 13 Jul 06
========================================

So the incident took place AT Khallat Wardah….

and this paragraph:

‘International envoys had informed the Hezbollah leadership in the past few days that the Israeli army intended to carry out training exercises on the border on how to avoid its soldiers being captured. This was tantamount to a warning message to Hezbollah. ‘

is suggestive…were they wanting Hizbollah to capture a soldier or 2? Remember , this operation, the war on Lebanon, had been planned long before….what was lacking was a provocation.

5 Bryan { 07.28.06 at 11:15 pm }

This whole thing smells like a special ops mission that didn’t work the way either side had planned.

Hezbollah doesn’t even bring up the possibility that everything happened in no-mans-land, their story is that they entered Israel and grabbed these guys.

Israel talks about a clear violation of Israeli territory.

No one is asking the UNIFIL what they saw, and at 9:00am they would have seen everything.

I don’t think Israel has a very accurate picture of Hezbollah. These guys seem to be more like Army Rangers, than guerrilla fighters. They are trained, disciplined, and in uniforms. They don’t hit and run, they stand and fight. They have prepared positions in depth and seem to use explosives similar to the US claymore mines to set up booby traps.

There’s going to be an interesting book in a decade, but I’m beginning to doubt anyone is sure at this point what is really going on, least of all the Israeli ground commanders.