Qana massacre: Angry Lebanese storm into UN offices, world and Arab leaders condemn

Published July 30th, 2006 - 02:40 GMT

Lebanese citizens angry over the air strike in Qana, which killed scores of civilians, stormed into the main UN building in Beirut. The protesters burned UN and American flags and smashed windows.

 

Outside, demonstrators chanted slogans against Israel and the US and denounced Arab governments for not doing enough to end the Israeli attacks.

 

At least 54 Lebanese citizens were killed, at least 37 of them children in the Israeli attack on the village of Qana in south Lebanon.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Lebanon following the news. According to the AP, she said she was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life'' in Israel's attack. "We all recognize this kind of warfare is extremely difficult,'' Rice said. "It unfortunately has awful consequences sometimes.'' "We want a cease-fire as soon as possible,'' she added.  

 

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett told Sky News the deaths were "appalling", but refused to say Israel's strategy was "disproportionate" - the word used earlier by her predecessor Jack Straw.

 

France also condemned the attack, calling it an unjustifiable act and demanding an immediate cease-fire. President Jacques Chirac learned "with dismay of the act of violence that cost the lives of numerous innocent victims, notably woman and children, in Qana overnight," his office said in a statement.

"France condemns this unjustifiable action, which shows more than ever the need to move toward an immediate cease-fire, without which other such dramas can only be repeated," it said.

 

Arab reactions

“What do you expect from these child killers and criminals. They’ve murdered all these kids and women and now they are trying to justify their vile deeds,” said Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi al Aridi.

 

Hizbullah vowed on Sunday to retaliate for the air strike on Qana. "This horrific massacre will not go without a response," Hizbullah said in a statement.

Lebanese President Amil Lahud scoffed at the Israeli claims, saying that Israel committed a deliberate, calculated, cold-blooded massacre of civilians. “They knew that these children and women were sheltering in that building, they knew the victims couldn’t have escaped because the roads were destroyed blocked, and then Israeli leaders have the audacity to tell us to leave in order to destroy our homes,” Lahud said during an interview with Aljazeera TV Sunday morning.

On his part, Jordan's King Abdullah II strongly condemned the ugly crime of the Israeli forces in Qana. In a statement issued by the Royal Hashemite Court, the monarch affirmed that this "criminal aggression forms a strong violation of the international law."

 

The King called for an immediate ceasefire and stressed that it is important that the international society find an out let for this crisis and put an end for the Israeli aggression on the Lebanese lands and people to end the suffering of Lebanese as soon as possible.


Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad, condemned the Israeli massacre against civilians in Qana. Al Assad affirmed during a telephone conversation with Lebanese President, Emile Lahoud, that this massacre reflected once again the barbarism of Israel and state terrorism being exercised by it publicly.

 

Palestinian President, Mahmood Abbas, also condemned the Israeli massacre. Abbas in a telephone conversation with Lebanese Prime Minister, Faud Al Siniora, expressed his support for Lebanon and condemned the Qana massacre that claimed the lives of women and children. He also requested an immediate cease-fire and the halt of Israeli aggression against Lebanon.


Hamas on Sunday vowed to carry out attacks on Israel in response to the Qana disaster. "In the face of this open war against the Arab and Muslim nations all options are open, including striking the depth of the Zionist entity," Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas lawmaker, told Reuters.

 

Asked if that meant suicide bombings against Israelis, Masri said: "All options are open. Every means is allowed. This is a crime and state-terror and a crossing of all red lines."

 

© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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