Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 5: Hizballah Bombards the Mountain

Update 1:40 am: Calm returns to Choueifat.

Update 12:30 am:
LebanonFiles reports that clashes have resumed in the town of Choueifat as a result of exchanges of sniping fire between Hizballah militiamen and gunmen belonging to the PSP. The home of the town's mayor [Haytham al Jurdi], a PSP partisan, was reportedly burned. The website reports that Lebanese Red Cross units have, as yet, been unable to evacuate all the dead and wounded, which it estimates at 5 dead and more than 13 wounded.

Update 11:20 pm:
Heavy clashes have erupted in the mountainous Barouk area of the Chouf district, between Hizballah militiamen and partisans loyal to the predominantly Druze PSP.

Click here for images from Hizballah's mountain assault, and here for video.

Update 8:30 pm:
The Lebanese Army is deploying in the mountain village of Aaytat, which witnessed heavy fighting earlier in the day.

Click here for images from Hizballah's bombardment of the Aley district and its villages/towns.

Update 8:10 pm:
The Lebanese Army is reportedly moving units (possibly special forces) into the town of Chouifat while clashes with light machine guns and sniper fire continue.

Update 7:00 pm:
Al-Arabiya (via NOWLebanon) reports that Hizballah gunmen prevented their crew from filming clashes in the mountain districts.

Update 6:45 pm:
Clashes persist in the Aley/Chouf mountain districts and PSP leader Walid Jumblatt declares that "Hizballah wants to dominate Mount Lebanon, that is why the ceasefire hasn't been applied."

Heavy fighting was reported today in the Chouiefat foothills area, just south of Beirut, and in the mountain district of Aley. Machine gun, RPG, and sniping fire was reported throughout the day, and casualties are being reported.

According to the [anti-Syrian] Kataeb (Phalangist) website, Hizballah launched a massive attack on villages in the Aley and Chouf districts, deploying heavily between the villages of Keyfoun and Qomatieh, and making their way through the town of Souk el Gharb.

An intense firefight broke out in the village of Aaytat (Aley district) in which heavy machine guns and 23 mm mortars were used. Hizballah is also reported to have engaged in 60 mm and 82 mm artillery bombardment of the area.

In Beysour, a heavy artillery barrage led to the complete destruction of Information Minister Ghazi Aridi's house, according to unconfirmed reports on the Kataeb site.

Following numerous calls by both pro-Syrian and anti-Syrian Druze leaders for a cessation of hostilities, a stop of Hizballah's bombardment, and a deployment of the Army in the mountain districts, a ceasefire took effect at 6:00 pm.

Fellow blogger Abu Kais, who's parents live in one of the affected areas, is following the situation closely.

In Beirut, meanwhile, Amal and Hizballah militiamen remain in control of large swathes of the city, despite a heavier deployment of Lebanese Army units (including special forces units) in mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods of the capital.

Writing from Beirut, a friend had this to say about the situation on the ground:
In Karakol el Druz , I had a car (black BMW) under my house around which there were 4 guys with rifles and rocket launchers, this morning the same guys are in the same position but the guns are in the back of the car!
In Tripoli, where heavy fighting was reported all of yesterday, reports continue to come in of sporadic clashes, despite the Army's deployment throughout the city's main thoroughfares. According to NOWLebanon a 12-year-old girl was killed by sniper-fire on Al-Ghuraba street in Bab al-Tebbeneh, Tripoli.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:28 PM

    n east Lebanon's Barouk region, PSP supporters turned over to the army scores of Hizbullah fighters who were besieged and captured in overnight clashes.

    The pro-PSP defenders also seized 13 Hizbullah vehicles and turned them over to the army early Monday upon instructions from PSP leader Walid Jumblat.

    The PSP said the move was in response to a request by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who also heads the opposition AMAL movement.

    ReplyDelete

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