Archive for Saturday, August 12, 2006

Israeli drone fires on refugee convoy

August 12, 2006

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— An Israeli drone fired at a convoy of refugees fleeing southern Lebanon on Friday night, killing at least six people and wounding 16, an Associated Press photographer said.

The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.

Lutfallah Daher, the photographer, was with the convoy when it was hit near the Bekaa Valley town of Chtaura, about 30 miles north of the Litani River. Israel has said it would attack any vehicle on roads south of the Litani, assuming it was carrying Hezbollah weapons or fighters.

Daher said he counted six bodies that were taken to the morgue at the hospital in Jobb Jannine. There were reports of two more dead, but the photographer could not confirm those deaths.

The photographer said that when the convoy left the Israeli-occupied town of Marjayoun in southern Lebanon, it was made up of more than 600 civilian vehicles in addition to vehicles carrying 350 Lebanese soldiers and police. A few vehicles had left the convoy before it was hit, the photographer said.

Daher lives in Marjayoun and was fleeing with his wife in one car. His mother, brother, sister-in-law and their child were in another car. None was harmed.

Two armored U.N. peacekeeping vehicles were to have accompanied the convoy, Daher said, but were not present when Israeli forces in Marjayoun gave the convoy permission to head north. Israeli tanks and infantry took control of Marjayoun on Thursday.

Israel's military said no convoys had been coordinated with the army.

The region around Marjayoun, a mainly Christian town, was hit by Israeli warplanes and artillery during and after the Israeli advance.

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