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Turkey Shoot

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Daily Star:

The medics loaded the ambulances with the casualties and made the same perilous return journey to the Najem Hospital on the edge of Tyre. A car was burning furiously on the road just outside the hospital, the result of yet another Israeli helicopter strike. The missile had hit the rear of the car but the three occupants had just enough time to escape before fire engulfed the vehicle."This is getting worse and worse by the day," said Qassem Chaalan, a Lebanese Red Cross volunteer. His unit had made 20 trips into the Tyre hinterland that morning to recover casualties. By midday, he was reporting that 10 cars, including an ambulance belonging to a local charity, had been attacked in the vicinity of Tyre alone.

At the Jabal Amel Hospital, the casualties continued to arrive along with more reports of targeted cars - two from Tiri, including the mini-bus, one from Qlayle, one from Aitit and two from Jmaijme.

A UNIFIL officer said that the Israelis had told them they would not hinder cars travelling north on main roads. But the overwhelming evidence Sunday suggested that cars were being attacked regardless of their occupants and direction of travel.

"They have been hitting civilian cars all over the place," said Peter Bouckart of Human Rights Watch, who had just returned to Beirut from Tyre. "I have been in many war zones, but this is one of the most dangerous places I have seen."

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What Israel is doing, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is weakening a government that was struggling, valiantly, to diminish Syrian influence in Lebanon. You are making Syria quite literally, the gateway to a better life. You are giving Iran a chance to deepen its penetration of Lebanon when it finances tomorrow the reconstruction of what you are deconstructing today. You can weaken Hizbullah, but like the proverbial phoenix it will rise again. Bombs cannot destroy an ideology; stomach-churning hypocrisy about what is good for us will not win our hearts and minds.

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