The Times and Democrat
U.N. Post Hit in Israel-Hezbollah Fighting
By SAM F. GHATTAS
Friday, July 21, 2006
BEIRUT, Lebanon - A U.N.-run observation post near the border was struck during fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants on Friday, while Israel pushed ahead with airstrikes on Lebanon and warned people in the south to flee as it prepared for a likely ground invasion to set up a deep buffer zone.
The Israeli army said Hezbollah rockets hit the U.N. post near Zarit, just inside Israel, but a U.N. officer said it was an artillery shell fired by the Israeli Defense Force. The facility was severely damaged, but nobody was injured as the Ghanian troops manning the post were inside bomb shelters at the time of the strike, the U.N. official said....
....The U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said an artillery shell fired by the Israeli Defense Force "impacted a direct hit on the U.N. position overlooking Zarit."
An Israeli Defense Force spokesman said the position was hit by rockets fired by Hezbollah guerrillas at northern Israel. The differing accounts could not immediately be reconciled.
In 1996, during an Israeli air and artillery offensive against Lebanon, artillery blasted a U.N. base at Qana in southern Lebanon, killing more than 100 Lebanese civilians who had taken refuge with the peacekeepers.
The U.N. mission has nearly 2,000 peacekeepers and more than 300 civilians in southern Lebanon but the force has proven ineffective in policing the so-call Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon in the six years since Israel pulled its troops out of the zone.....