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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Hezbollah Fires Rockets Into Haifa; Israel Bombs Beirut
Aired August 6, 2006 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Now in the news, smoke fills the sky above Beirut as Israeli warplanes launch rare daylight raids. Israel says today's attacks were on Hezbollah targets in the Lebanese capital's southern suburbs. The fighting in the Middle East is now in its 26th day.
A new development in the kidnapping that sparked the current crisis. Israel's military says it has captured one of the Hezbollah militants involved in the abduction of these two Israeli soldiers nearly a month ago. The Israeli military says the militant was captured in a raid deep inside Lebanon, and he has confessed to his role in the kidnappings.
Condoleezza Rice says she expects the U.N. to vote in the next day or two on a resolution that could end the large-scale fighting between Israeli and Hezbollah forces. Speaking at President Bush's Texas ranch, the secretary of state said, quote, "Then we'll see who is for peace and who isn't," end quote.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. More top stories in 15 minutes. Now CNN's THIS WEEK AT WAR with John King.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: THIS WEEK AT WAR, the conflict along the Israeli-Lebanon border escalated dramatically, neither side able to deliver a knockout blow. Diplomats work on a cease-fire, but are there nations that don't want an end to the fighting?
And in Baghdad, Iraq's president says Iraqi troops will take over security by the end of the year. Is this realistic, or is Iraq already plunging into civil war?
I'm John King, filling in for John Roberts. He's on special assignment in the Middle East. Let's take a look at what our correspondents reported day by day.
Monday, Lebanese civilians emerge from hiding to find food or to flee, as Israel declares a lull in aerial bombing.
Tuesday, thousands of Israeli ground troops cross the Lebanese border, engaging in fierce combat with dug-in Hezbollah fighters.
Wednesday, despite Israeli claims of degrading the Hezbollah, more than 200 rockets smash into Israel, the largest barrage of this war.
Thursday, in Baghdad, children were the targets when a bomb exploded in a soccer field as sectarian violence continued.
Friday, tens of thousands demonstrated in Baghdad in support of Hezbollah, as the Lebanese fighting raised tensions across the Middle East, THIS WEEK AT WAR.
In Israel and Lebanon, there are hundreds dead, more than a million fleeing their homes. Israel has sent thousands more troops into battle, but the Hezbollah militia is continuing to hold out and becoming heroes to many Muslims. In anyone winning this conflict in the Middle East?
Joining me to discuss this are Ben Wedeman in Tyre, Lebanon, Matthew Chance in northern Israel, and CNN military analyst Brigadier General David Grange, U.S. Army retired. He is in Chicago.
On Thursday, Paula Hancocks reported from Israel on the increasingly deadly rain of missiles.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Less than one minute after a Katyusha rocket hits, it's carnage. A car less than 10 meters from the point of impact burst into flames. The wounded lay where they fell, waiting for help.
The man driving this car was hit by pellets packed into the rocket warhead and lost control. Emergency services managed to free him from the wreckage, but he dies on his way to hospital. Four more people died at the scene, a father and his 14-year-old daughter among the victims.
KING: Matthew Chance in northern Israel, on the one hand the Israeli military claims success against Hezbollah, and yet the rockets keep coming. How does the Israeli military explain what to many Israeli civilians, I assume, would appear to be a contradiction?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What the Israelis say is that they need to get ground forces up in there, in southern Lebanon, to push the Hezbollah as far north as possible to deprive them of the kind of launching areas that they've been using over the past several weeks to hit northern Israel.
But the Israeli prime minister has made it quite clear that, by military means alone, they don't believe they can ever take away Hezbollah's missile threat because it does have these very long-range missiles and could even fire them potentially right from at the north of Lebanon right into northern Israel. And so that would have to come to some kind of political solution imposed by the international community; that's the best Israel can hope for.
At the moment, they're just expanding their operations, trying to establish a buffer zone away from the Israeli border to stop the incursions of Hezbollah forces coming in and snatching Israeli soldiers, such as the incident that started this whole war up in the first place -- John?
KING: Well, Ben Wedeman, you hear Matthew talking of the ground incursion. The Israelis say some of those missiles launching from Lebanon into Israel are coming from where you are in Tyre and surrounding areas. Any evidence that the ground incursion is coming your way?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, no, no evidence really. Most of the action, John, has been along these border villages. We've seen sort of air activity come and go. Sometimes it's intense; sometimes it's relatively low. But in terms of signs on the ground of an impending ground incursion, none really -- John?
KING: Well, General David Grange, we are approaching one month in this conflict. The diplomats are working at it, but the fighting continues. Who is winning the war?
BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, I think right now Israel has the upper hand because of the damage they've inflicted on the infrastructure and the war-making capability of the Hezbollah.
Now, the rocket issue is that there's thousands and thousands of short-range rockets left, and they're in this area between the border and the Litani River. And it's going to take a while to clear that area out to eliminate the short-range rocket capability.
And, of course, that's what Israel would like to do, at least the military part of Israel. I'm not sure about their government. And before that happens, it will be very tough to bring in any kind of a multinational force to maintain any kind of peace, if in fact there is a cease-fire, which I don't think will be anytime soon.
KING: And we as talk about the fighting and as we cover the fighting, there is, of course, a humanitarian aspect to this story, as well. On Wednesday, our Karl Penhaul reported on the difficulties of getting humanitarian aid into southern Lebanon at this time of war.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before heading into the countryside with these supplies, aid officials must get a pledge from the warring parties not to attack their aid convoys. Israel resumed air strikes Wednesday morning around Tyre in retaliation against Hezbollah launching more rockets from the city's outskirts. For now, it's too dangerous for the Doctors Without Borders charity to venture outside Tyre, so they're distributing washing kits, along with diapers and powdered baby milk, to around 400 refugees at this school in town.
KING: Ben, you have seen the frustrating yourself firsthand, along with Karl Penhaul. Is the situation from a humanitarian standpoint getting better, getting worse?
WEDEMAN: There's no question that it is getting worse. Certainly, when we had a chance to go into some of those border villages, these people were living in horrendous conditions. They had been in bomb shelters or basements of their houses for weeks. They all had sort of a pallid look about them. At best, they'd been eating old food, old bread.
And it's very hard for them to move out, get around. It's very difficult, as Karl mentioned in his report, for these relief convoys to get in. They have to get a green light from the Israelis. And from the relief officials I've spoken with, I've heard that more often than not their requests for a green light from the Israelis are turned down.
And we know that relief officials are saying they're worried about the outbreak of disease because people are not drinking clean water. They're living in very difficult, cramped conditions. The food they're eating isn't very good. So across the board really, the humanitarian situation in southern Lebanon is very, very worrying for these officials -- John?
KING: As Matthew Chance talked about earlier, there was a frustration among many Israeli citizens as to exactly what are the tactics of their military. On Wednesday, our Michael Ware reported about a daring commando raid by Israel deep into Lebanon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventy miles from their own border, sweeping in at night from the air, a classic Israeli commando raid. The target: a hospital in the town of Baalbek, an E.R. clinic. But to Israel's generals, it's much more than that. Claiming they had intelligence that it was a Hezbollah logistics base, a possible safe-house for a senior leader, and perhaps where two captive Israeli soldiers were treated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Matthew Chance in northern Israel, is the Israeli military adjusting its tactics? Do we expect more commando raids like this, or is the attention now on this ground defensive?
CHANCE: Well, I think the attention is very much on the ground offensive in southern Lebanon, because the Israeli military and the Israeli government is very aware that the diplomatic clock may well be ticking towards some kind of internationally imposed cease-fire.
I think we will be seeing more commando raids, like the one that Michael Ware was just describing, because one of the objectives that Israel wants to put across in the minds of Hezbollah is that it can strike anywhere, not just in southern Lebanon but anywhere it chooses to across Lebanon, and it's prepared to do that.
But in terms of the military emphasis at the moment, that's very much on establishing that buffer zone in south Lebanon, north of the Israeli border. So if any multinational forces deployed, it can take over where the Israelis leave off, as it were -- John? KING: And, General Grange, Matthew raises the question of if any international force is going to be deployed. When you watch the Israeli tactics, do you see a government that thinks a cease-fire is coming or that thinks the diplomats are going to keep talking for a while?
GRANGE: Well, you know, there's discussion as if it's coming, but I think deep down they realize the conflict's going to last a while. I mean, the Hezbollah is going to continue to fight. They're not going to give up; they're not going to turn in their weapons. And so they truly have to be destroyed to a certain extent before anything like that can happen.
And it can't be done, "OK, cease-fire, move back," and then months later you move in some type of a multinational force. It has to be relief in place, unit for unit, and the conditions have to be where the multinational force does not have to resume the same type of fighting that the Israeli forces are currently involved in.
KING: General Grange, we're going to ask you to stand by. Our thanks to Ben Wedeman in Tyre, Lebanon, Matthew Chance, difficult duty in northern Israel. Matthew and Ben, please stay safe.
General Grange will stay with us next when we turn to Iraq and this question: Can Iraqi forces control the spiraling sectarian violence, or is Iraq at the tipping point to a full-scale civil war?
But first, a look at the human cost of the conflict in Iraq and across the Middle East.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. The third-largest city in Israel now takes the brunt of new attacks from Hezbollah rockets. The city of Haifa, you're looking at live pictures right now of the scene of downtown Haifa, as well as live pictures you're about to see outside a hospital where it is expected, according to emergency officials there, that there are several injuries. Haifa has taken a good brunt of the Hezbollah rocket attacks now entering the fourth week of this Middle East crisis.
Our Fionnuala Sweeney is in Haifa. And when we get an opportunity to talk with her about what she's hearing there in Haifa, we'll be able to get the latest information.
In fact, there she is, ready and in a flak jacket, because you're taking cover and protection, as well, Fionnuala. About how far away are you from the location where these rockets hit?
FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are quite some distance away, but we were able to hear, Fredricka, at least five impacts in this city just about 15 minutes ago. And, indeed, we could see where they landed and smoke rising. Now, Israeli television reporting that dozens of people are thought to have been injured. The rescue services, as I survey the city from my perch here, you can see at various points concentrations of blue, flashing lights as the rescue services deal with the scenes in the various parts of the town here that have been hit by these rockets. We're told, also, that one building has partially collapsed, and police believe, Fredricka, that there are people trapped inside.
The emergency services here are very quick to react, and it has to be said that, when the air-raid sirens went off for the second time within an hour, about 15 minutes ago, the city was quite quiet. And as I made my way here to our live shot position, the hotel building actually reverberated to the sound of these impacts, and we came out and saw the smoke rising from the various points where the rockets had landed.
About an hour ago, the air-raid sirens had sounded also, and there were seven rockets landing that we saw in open areas. There were no injuries reported. What the police are telling us now, Fredricka, is that, within the last 15 minutes, four rockets have landed in the city of Haifa. Israeli television telling us that several people, a dozen of people are thought to be injured, and at least one building has partially collapsed, and people are thought to be trapped inside -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: And that building, is that believed to be like an apartment building or some sort of place of residence?
SWEENEY: We have no idea right now. The news is just coming in seconds fast. I mean, what happens when these rockets land, when the air-raid sirens go off, first of all, sometimes they're followed by rocket impacts, sometimes not at all. And there's always the danger, of course, that people become complacent, because the air-raid sirens indicate that rockets may be incoming, but they could be landing anywhere across northern Israel or within the immediate vicinity.
But this time, it has been to be said, it's very unusual for Hezbollah to fire rockets at night, because Israeli military drones can pick up the flash from rocket launchers at nighttime in a way that they're not quite able to do so during the day. And to see that Haifa has came under two barrages of rocket attacks within the last hour as the sun was setting is an indication that, despite what the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has been saying, that the infrastructure of Hezbollah has been completely destroyed, Hezbollah clearly very, very capable of firing rockets, not just into Haifa, but across northern Israel.
Of course, you may also recall that near the Lebanese border today, earlier in the day, Kfar Giladi, there were 11 people who were killed in a rocket attack. It was the single most deadliest rocket attack so far in terms of casualties.
More than 180 rockets have been fired into Israel this day alone, and it has to be said that, over the last three or four days, the average number of rockets being fired by Hezbollah into the northern one-third of Israel is more than 200 each day. There were three people killed yesterday, three people killed the day before. Today the death toll at least 12 now, and we're waiting for casualty figures from what has just taken place here in Haifa -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: So, Fionnuala, when you talk about the tally of rockets hitting today and over the past couple of days, these rockets are not dwindling, which was the expectation that, perhaps by this point, Hezbollah firing rockets, that effort would be weakening. If anything it's maintaining its momentum, if not intensifying further?
SWEENEY: Well, indeed. And it would also -- it has to be borne in mind that a city just 40 kilometers north of Tel Aviv was hit on Thursday night by three rockets, and that is the furthest south Hezbollah have struck into Israel so far.
Now, the Israeli military have been saying from the get-go that their aim was to cripple Hezbollah. They didn't think they could take them out and completely destroy them. But they said their main difficulty was that, every time they destroyed a rocket launcher, then other rocket launchers would take their place elsewhere along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
And a few weeks ago, Haifa was very much on the radar of Hezbollah, and the Israeli military identified a rocket launcher position in Tyre in southern Lebanon, which they took out. But within 24 hours, there were still more missiles landing on Haifa.
It has been relatively quiet here over the last number of days, it has to be said, in Haifa, not, of course, in other parts of northern Israel. But at about 7:00 this evening, which was about an hour and 15 minutes ago, the air-raid sirens sounded for about the fourth time today. There were no rocket attacks earlier, but we saw seven rockets landing in open areas, no injuries.
And then, just as I say, about 20 minutes ago, as the sun had practically set, the air-raid sirens went off again, and this time there were at least four impacts in the city.
Just to recap: One building partially collapsed. Police believe that there are people trapped inside and there are dozens of injuries reported -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: And a number that we're getting now from Israeli officials, Fionnuala is 20 wounded, at least 20 wounded there in Haifa as a result of these attacks. You mentioned just moments ago or alluded to the complacency that could possibly set in. Had people there in general in Haifa been feeling relatively comfortable, particularly from sunset to sun-up, that it's likely, if there was going to be activity there in Haifa, it wouldn't happen at nightfall?
SWEENEY: Yes, that is pretty much the routine that during the day the air-raid sirens go off anytime from maybe 6:30 in the morning until maybe about 6:30 in the evening. But, you know, it has to be said that people pick up and get about their normal business.
Once the rocket attack happens, and there are injuries, and if it's very serious, then the streets are usually quite clear of people. But there are people out and about. And earlier in this week, we had actually considered doing a story about Haifa getting back to normal.
But every time we have something like this, it just means people hunker down. They don't go out on the streets. And just before these barrage of rocket attacks, one could look over the city and see maybe the odd car on the street and then these rockets making their impact.
And for a second, it's quite surreal, because there's a silence over the city completely, and you can only see the smoke rising from the various points where the rockets have landed. And then within, of course, minutes, the air is filled with the sound of the emergency services and the police sirens. So that is very much the scene now. Police are there, trying to get to the injured and those trapped they believe in a building which partially collapsed.
The danger with these rockets and what terrorizes residents of Haifa and elsewhere is that the rockets are so random. One doesn't know if they're going to land in an open area. One doesn't know when the air-raid siren goes off if it's going to be a rocket attack at all.
And so what has taken place in the last 25 minutes or so, really a very, very strong indication that Hezbollah definitely not beaten. And despite the 10,000 to 12,000 ground troops that are in southern Lebanon at the moment, they are clearly having difficulty tracking down those rocket launchers.
And as I was saying earlier, the Israeli prime minister has been saying that their infrastructure has been destroyed. And that actually, it's been said by some sources to us that they're not measuring success in terms of the number of rockets that are coming into Israel. But now we're three-and-a-half weeks into this conflict, and we're seeing the most number of rockets being fired into this country by Hezbollah than ever before. So clearly, Hezbollah not crippled at all -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: All right, Fionnuala, thanks so much. We're going to take a short break right now, and on the other side we're going to continue our conversation. Fionnuala, I want to talk to you about the emergency services that you alluded to moments ago, more of that when we come right back.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
WHITFIELD: Hello, again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. This breaking story out of Israel, in what is considered the third-largest city in Israel, the largest barrage of attacks for a while now in the city of Haifa. At least one building is partially collapsed, and emergency crews are saying that at least 20 people may have been injured.
This is unusual, as we were hearing from our reporter, Fionnuala Sweeney, on the line a moment ago, because this strike is happening after sunset. It's just after 6:00 p.m. there. And ordinarily the town of Haifa and many other Israeli cities, which have been the target of these Hezbollah rocket attacks, have experienced such attacks during daylight hours, this time coming in the evening here.
And you're seeing shots of the downtown Haifa area, the emergency crews on the scene, as well as shots of inside the emergency room where emergency workers are working frantically to try to aid those wounded.
Our Paula Hancocks is actually near that collapsed building that I spoke of just moments ago in downtown Haifa, and Paula, she's on the phone with us now. What are you seeing?
HANCOCKS: Well, Fredricka, I hope you can hear me. It's so loud here at the moment. There are a lot of police, a lot of ambulances around. We've seen many ambulances move away from the area of this building.
We can see that part of the building has collapsed, and now the police have actually moved everybody away from this area. There are rumors, fears of people trapped inside, as part of this building has collapsed.
Now, this is in a very densely populated area of Haifa. It's in the Arab quarter, and the houses here are very close together. We can see in the streets a tremendous amount of glass, shattered glass. You can see chairs, which may even have been in the house itself that was hit.
It does look as though it has taken a direct hit. And I hope you can still hear me, Fredricka. It is very loud here. Everyone is moving backwards. The police trying to get everybody out of the area of the particular hit itself. But we are understanding from Israeli ambulance services that at least 20 people have been wounded in this latest attack -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: And we can hear you just clearly, no problem, Paula. Now, does it appear as though this building was a place of residence?
HANCOCKS: From what I can see, I've actually been moved back by the police now. They're trying to get into the house itself; obviously, they're worried about the people being inside.
And what we can see at the moment is many more ambulances leaving the scene. We've seen some injured people going into these ambulances, and there's a lot more ambulances than you usually see in one of these rocket attacks. Now, obviously, this follows the very deadly rocket attacks earlier this Sunday, which was up near Kiryat Shmona.
And here there are many people just wandering around, some looking a bit dazed, others just being helped into ambulances. I think they've taken the worst injuries away first, and they think that there could be dozens of injuries -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: Is there concern or worry that there may indeed be people who are trapped under portions of that partially collapsed building? HANCOCKS: Well, in this situation, I've covered quite a few of these rocket hits, and the police eventually do move the eyewitnesses back, they move the press back. But this time they're doing it very urgently, and they're pushing us back very earlier, which many people here are taking to believe that there may be someone left inside.
I mean, the parts of the building have collapsed. It does look like a particularly bad rocket attack, and so it's definitely a possibility. Now, there have been a couple more ambulances moving down into this that area. Of course, in this area here, there are very narrow streets, and it's quite difficult with everybody milling around, as well, to actually get these ambulances to where they're needed.
So there's definitely a sense that the police do not want people around this particular area. Maybe the building could be unsafe. I mean, it has partially collapsed. At this point, we know that at least 20 have been injured, and we're hearing from the ambulance services now at least some in serious condition.
WHITFIELD: And, Paula, while we're looking at pictures and you're talking about the cordoned off area, perhaps some of these earlier pictures were taken before they managed to cordon it off. It looks like a lot of the ordinary citizens are working alongside the emergency workers, trying to get some aid to people who may be trapped in that building or at least rescue many of those 20 wounded.
And we're now being told that at least one is dead from that rocket attack. Can you give me an idea how the emergency crews and perhaps ordinary citizens are kind of working together there?
HANCOCKS: Well, this is a very close-knit community, this particular area. It's an Israeli-Arab area. I've just seeing one injured person being taken through the cordon into the back of an ambulance. This would suggest that in this cordoned-off area they are still looking for people inside.
That particular young boy looks OK, if not a little shaken with some cuts and bruises, but it does appear as though they are still looking for people inside this particular area.
And it wouldn't surprise me if people did try and help the (INAUDIBLE) obviously we would (INAUDIBLE) there's neighbors. There's nothing like, you know, a common enemy to bring people together and to want to try and help each other. Everyone in Haifa is in the same situation here, so it wouldn't surprise me if they were trying to help.
And I can also see many people just wandering around, holding cloths to their heads, just are lightly wounded who haven't been able to be seen to yet, because presumably there are more serious injuries that the emergency services want to take care of first -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: And, Paula, this is a day that various parts of Israel have experienced some 180 rockets landing into the country, according to Fionnuala Sweeney's sources earlier. Haifa in general in the past 24 hours are so, have you noticed that people there have felt rather at ease, that they were ready to get on with their day-to-day lives, that they felt like perhaps the worst was over?
HANCOCKS: Well, I think certainly for Haifa itself that may be the case. Certainly a few days ago they were feeling a lot better at the beginning of last week, as there was a few-day lull in rockets across the whole of Israel.
But then, obviously, on Wednesday, we had a record number of rockets. Thursday, eight were killed. Friday, two were killed. Saturday, two were killed. And then today it has been one of the deadliest or the deadliest rocket attack we've seen at Kiryat Shmona. The Israeli media is reporting one killed here. So certainly this will be a shock for the people in Haifa as they haven't had rockets here for some time.
Now, just about half an hour before this happened, or maybe an hour or so, there were other rockets that were sent over to this particular area. Those landed in open areas, and they saw no casualties. But then, again, people may think, "Well, that was our barrage of rockets. We're OK now." And then, of course, these particular rockets came, appearing far more deadly than the first -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: Now, Paula, let me ask you about the emergency crews, the hospitals, how they're equipped to take care of the many injured; the many injured over the course of nearly four weeks now?
HANCOCKS: Well, unfortunately, Fredricka, the people here have actually had a lot of practice of how to --
WHITFIELD: All right, it looks like we lost that cell phone connection with Paula Hancocks there, who is really in the throws activity there in downtown Haifa. A densely populated community, as she was describing, where reports of one building partially collapsed.
It appears as though, according to emergency workers there, that at least 20 people have been wounded. And now one reportedly dead after these missile strikes now coming into Haifa. You're looking at the aftermath immediately following the strikes of these Hezbollah rockets there in Haifa.
This being considered one of the worst barrages of missile attacks on this port city. The third largest city in Israel, really has been a target from the start of this now nearly four weeks of this crises here.
Emergency crews on the scene, as well as the hospital, medical workers are working feverishly to try to respond to the level of injuries and casualties now from this attack, as well as the other attacks over the past few weeks.
But as Paula Hancocks was reporting, unfortunately, this is an area that has been getting a lot of practice over the years on responding to emergency or terrorist activity, but this, of course, is different. Particularly over the past four weeks now, as this crisis in the Middle East has only been escalating.
We're going to take a short break for now. We'll continue with our look at the crisis in the Middle East with this latest barrage of missile attacks now on the port city of Haifa.
(BEGIN CNN INTERNATIONAL)
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Paula Hancocks is down inside the city. She's at the scene of one of those rocket impacts. What do you think? What can you tell us?
HANCOCKS: At the moment I'm standing outside one building that partially collapsed from the impact of one of these particular rockets. It happened just about half-hour ago.
There are many ambulances around. You see many people taken away. We understand from the ambulance services here on the ground, that one person that has been killed in this latest rocket attack, and eight or nine people are critically injured. This is according to the ambulance services that are actually outside this house at this point.
Now, the building itself, it's in the Arab quarter, the Israeli/Arab quarter Haifa. There are fairly narrow streets here and the buildings are quite close together. You can see the damage a fair way there. There are windows smashed around, and also you can see glass on the floor, you can see chairs (ph) that are on the floor. Possibly in that building itself, it is the front part of that building (AUDIO GAP)
For the latest information, we do have one killed and either eight or nine critically injured. The police, at this point, have been trying to keep people away from the site itself. In the past five minutes we've actually seen someone come out of that site, put on a stretcher, a young boy who looks fairly lucky. He didn't seem to have too many injuries. But it would suggest that maybe they're worried that there could be more people in the rubble.
GORANI: Paula, describe for us, if you can, the situation in terms of what happens when an air-raid siren goes off in the city of Haifa and what kind of precautions people take.
HANCOCKS: Well, people do go inside when the sirens go off. The police go inside, the ambulance workers go inside. I was driving around with the mayor, he went inside. Without fail everybody goes inside, or at least tries to shield themselves against the war that they're facing in the hope of trying to make the chances of them not being hit a little higher.
When these rockets do sound, then it's something that obviously strikes fear into the residents' hearts, the fact these rockets are so incredibly random. They can hit anywhere. They've been hitting places all over Haifa.
And there's the mayor, who has just walked past me, actually. So he's coming down to assess the damage as well and to give his condolences. We do know that eight or nine have been seriously injured. There's a lot more ambulances than usual at one of these rocket attacks. Obviously, the six rockets instantly, we were told, that one of them there could be severe casualties -- Nilla (ph).
GORANI: Of course, Paula is the randomness of these rockets and where they might land or not land that actually is what causes a lot of fear in the residents of Haifa, and indeed other cities and communities across northern Israel.
HANCOCKS: That's right. And it's the fact that when the air-raid sirens sounds, the rockets don't always come afterwards. They do sometimes. And certainly, at the beginning of this conflict, the rockets -- as far as I was concerned, in Haifa -- were coming before the air-raid sirens. So it is very difficult for people here to be able to have any sense of normalcy, to be able to know when to come out of bomb shelters. Some people are still living in bomb shelters and have for three and a half weeks.
And also, the fact that they come at different times of the day. Usually rockets are not fired this late in the day. In the past couple of days we have seen them being fired late in the day, which is unusual because, obviously it's easier for the Israeli military, in south Lebanon, to be able see exactly where these rockets come from and take out that particular rocket launcher.
We've seen a lot earlier, these rockets have started, and so a lot later, they have carried on. But they're trying to break the routine of what people would normally expect. Of course, they're terrified. And they really don't know when the next one will come. A lot of people are looking very agitated around me. But a lot of people also coming to see what has happened and see if they can help in any way.
GORANI: Right, Paula. If you'll stand by there, I want to go on the phone. We're joined by the General Yaron, he is here in Haifa.
If I may ask you sir, first of all, what do you know about the latest casualties and what's taken place in this city in the last half-hour?
GEN. RUTH YARON, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY: Well, I'm situated in Mount Carmel in Haifa and overlooking the city, where we have seen the three sites where the Katyusha rockets have hit. The damage is very considerable. As you can see from the pictures your cameras are sending you. And, unfortunately this time you had the chance (AUDIO GAP) tragedy in life when people are buried under the rubbles.
And we have had numerous casualties. We still don't know the full extent of it. You have to understand that this is only the latest in about more than 180 Katyusha rockets that the northern part of Israel has suffered today. And this has been going on for 26 days in a row when 1 million Israelis are sitting in shelters.
This time you can see the tragedy as it happens and as it folds, but this is what a citizen of the state of Israel has been enduring for more than 26 days now.
GORANI: General Yaron, if I may ask you, what can the Israeli military do to prevent these rockets? We hear Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, saying the infrastructure of Hezbollah has been completely destroyed. And yet there are more rockets than ever coming into northern Israel over the past three or four days?
YARON: Well, in order for all of us to eradicate terrorism from this region, what we see with the Hezbollah, is one terrorist organization which have captured the state of Lebanon and has been using the state of Lebanon as a platform to launch terror against Israel, and the way to do it --
GORANI: Yes, indeed, but I think the question is how are you going to destroy the rocket launchers?
YARON: It's militarily by destroying the rocket launchers. And, of course, we will never be able to destroy up to the last launcher rocket. That's why we need the complementary action, in the form of international efforts and political effort, in trying to make sure that the Lebanese government takes control over all of Lebanon, including south Lebanon, and totally dismantle the Hezbollah.
Because as long as the Hezbollah will have those rocket launchers, as long as they are not dismantled from their arms, then I'm afraid the terrible pictures you are seeing tonight will continue. We need to continue both the military effort and the diplomatic and international effort.
GORANI: Is it disappointing to you and to the Israeli authorities and people in general that the Israeli military nearly four weeks into this conflict hasn't been able to do more to damage Hezbollah?
YARON: We have to understand what it is we're facing here. We're not facing a regular army where you can destroy its tanks, or its mortar, and be done with it. We're talking about a terrorist organization ingrained inside of the southern part of Lebanon, which is masquerading as civilians, is using civilians as human shields. Therefore, the answer to that cannot be only militarily. Military power is only part of the answer.
It has to be done also with the full enforcement of the Lebanese law over this region. It has to be done with the international effort to dismantle this terrorist organization. Otherwise, military power by itself cannot be the only answer. It's part of the answer. It's not the total answer to that.
GORANI: And you know better than most people that of course, Hezbollah is also a movement, and the movement that was born out of a number of social groups in the early 1980s. It's an umbrella group in many ways of various social organizations, as much as anything else. Can a movement be destroyed? YARON: That's a very tough question for all of us in our democratic, Western societies, because this is the new war that we are all facing. Will we be able to dismantle the ideology that prevails right now with the terrorist organization, which is the culture of hate and the culture of death. This is what we're seeing here.
And what we're really seeing here is a clash of values between us, believing in life and wanting life, and to settle our disputes in diplomatic means versus groups, extremist groups, that will hail the culture of death and stop at nothing in murdering men and women and children. I believe that a strong and determined front against such ideology is necessary and can absolutely succeed if we put a very strong wall against this type of culture of death.
GORANI: You're here in Haifa, and this city has been under attack from day one of this conflict, intermittently. How much do you think the residents of Haifa can withstand? And how much do you think the economy of the city can withstand?
YARON: Well, the blow both in the casualties and in terms of the economy and infrastructure is very grave. Of course, this has been going on for so long, and the numbers are only increasing by the days. I am very encouraged by the spirit of the state of Israel and of its citizens which can sustain, but I'm afraid --
GORANI: Just a second there, General Yaron.
YARON: I'm sorry.
GORANI: Sorry to interrupt you there, General Yaron. I'm being asked to update our viewers on some information we're getting, that you're probably aware of what took place today at Kfar Giladi, up north there, along the Lebanese/Israeli border; 12 were killed, and we now understand that 12 of those people killed were soldiers. They were reservists, of course, who were there in that particular kibbutz area to support their colleagues, who were across the border fighting in southern Lebanon.
That is quite a huge toll to be inflicted across on the Israeli military in one day, is it not, General Yaron?
YARON: Absolutely. It is both on the Israeli military and on Israeli society. Add to this the casualties that we have suffered -- the civilian casualties that we have suffered today, and yesterday and the day before that.
And you understand that the toll on the Israeli society and the state of Israel is humongous -- is huge. We have good spirits and we are convinced in our way. We have no other choice but to fight for our life. And we will continue to do so militarily and diplomatically. But in our heart, we've been bleeding now for days in and day out, and the casualties are just increasing.
GORANI: Opinion poll after opinion poll, so far has shown huge overwhelming public support for the government of Ehud Olmert and his policy in prosecuting this war, but it has been time and time again that it will be increasing numbers of not just civilian, but also military casualties that will sway the public's perception and support for this war. Is that something with which you would agree?
YARON: I would agree on one thing. The rising number of deaths, both civilian and military, because we're talking about our children, like the friends of my son and the children of all of us who are part of military and of the IDF. Those causing us a lot of pain and indeed are hurting us as the Israeli society.
But, on the other hand, we have no other choice. You have to understand for us this is a fight for our lives, and for the livelihood of our own state, the only state that we have. Therefore, we will continue fighting. I think the spirit of the people, in spite of all those tragedies, will not fail. On the contrary, we'll continue. We have no other choice.
GORANI: General Ruth Yaron, of the Israeli foreign ministry on the line here in Haifa. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.
You're looking there at live pictures of what is taking place in Haifa. The aftermath of at least six rocket explosions fired by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon into Haifa, within in the last hour. We are hearing at least one person dead, 20 people injured. We understand two houses have partially collapsed, and police and rescue services are trying to recover and reach some people trapped inside.
For the moment, Hala, back to you in Beirut.
GORANI: All right. An update on what's happening on this side of the border. Our Jim Clancy is standing by with more on that. We had explosions in southern Beirut. We heard them very clearly from our position here, as well as military activity in the southern part of the country, as well as the Bekaa Valley.
Jim, bring us up to date.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, like you say, we had Israeli jets rocking Beirut in broad daylight. Fighting raged along that southern area of Lebanon along the Israeli border. Bombs fell in the Bekaa Valley as well, and to top that off, we just heard from Fionnuala about the deadly rocket barrages being fired into Israel.
Whatever the politicians had to say today about this proposed U.N. cease-fire resolution, the draft resolution, it could only be described as punctuation, which is what is increasingly seen as an ongoing catastrophe. Some 700 Lebanese are now reported to be dead. Among those, about 90 are thought to be Hezbollah fighters.
We were in the southern suburbs today where firefighters were working, going to areas that had been previously bombed and trying to put out flames there that continue to burn. The firefighters say that their job is tough. They're going back to these places over and over again. This was a 10-story apartment block that was brought down by a single precision-guided bomb.
Everybody inside -- most of them had fled. Miraculously we were told only three or four people died in this, although they're not certain. Some still may be buried. You can get an idea what it's like for them. The firefighters say their job is made all the worse by the stench that they're going in and facing in some of these locations. They fear what's left over from the explosions. This is an everyday scene now in Beirut, as people try to come to grips with what is happening to their capital city of Lebanon.
There's a lot of anger. You talk about putting out fires, try to put out the anger that you hear from people in those southern suburbs. They blame not only Israel, they blame the U.S. and Britain that they say stood by far too long, and did nothing, and still to this day have not reigned in the Israeli assault.
The contend, they told us there were no Hezbollah offices or anything in these buildings, but once again, these were places where perhaps someone from Hezbollah was living. They say that doesn't seem to be a reason to bomb an entire apartment block. A lot of outrage, a lot of anger that is going on there, Hala.
So, you see what the situation is, and we're bracing now. We know that Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League has arrived in Beirut. There will be a meeting on Monday to discuss the current crisis. That could be pivotal. And it was as he was arriving, that there were those fresh attacks, the broad daylight bombings. We don't know if that was timed to coincide with his visit, but certainly an ominous indicator there.
The Lebanese, of course, curious to see what will the Arab states do. How could they possibly support Lebanon in this? Lebanon, of course, wants to amend that U.N. resolution and call for Israeli forces to withdraw from Lebanon, actually seven points among them to have all of Israeli forces out of Lebanon.
Another point is the return of Lebanese that are held -- Lebanese civilians that are held by the Israelis. There's a lot at stake here. This city continues to be rocked. If there was any hope for this cease-fire, you would have to say that it is fading tonight.
Paula, back to you.
HANCOCKS: Jim, I asked this question of Fionnuala. I asked her, after each rocket attack on Haifa, how does the mood -- among ordinary Israelis -- change? One of the things I've noticed here is the longer this conflict goes on, the more there seems to be pessimism, and the higher the level of anger; and the more there seems to be, at least, if not ideological, there seems to be support for Hezbollah in what its doing in its military action? Is that what you sensed when you visited the southern coverage today?
CLANCY: That's a pretty accurate reflection. I think there's a couple of important things that are happening here. When you look at Lebanon and you look at Hezbollah, everyone always talks in terms of where there is the Syrian influence, and the Iranian influence, but I think, as has been pointed out to me, there's an important distinction here. The Syrian influence had no ideology with it. It was seen by many Lebanese as just a corrupting influence that was herding their democracy, and they wanted to remove it.
On the other hand, the Iranian influence with Hezbollah very ideologically oriented, saying confront Israel. You can never going to be able to deal with this country, with these people, unless you confront them. That's the way that they work, that's the way you should work. The more people you talk to, the more this conflict goes on, just as you said, they seem to be subscribing to that, which would support some analysts' viewpoints that all of this operation is really strengthening Hezbollah.
We saw demonstrations in the streets, where I would say, just by observation -- I can't be certain, because I didn't interview the person -- but somebody -- obviously a young woman, I would not see a devout Shia Muslim or fundamentalists, she was standing up there with a picture of Nasrallah, holding a Hezbollah flag, cheering people on. This kind of support is what you see here, and it's got some people concerned.
GORANI: All right. Jim Clancy, live from Beirut. This is where we are.
Of course, we've been speaking with our Fionnuala Sweeney, she is in Haifa, where the largest single rocket attack on that port city occurred -- really just a few moments ago. And we're seeing Fionnuala on either side of this conflict, not just military operations and how varied and different they are, but how differently people on either side of the border view this conflict and their position. What's the latest there from Haifa?
SWEENEY: Well, the latest we're hearing Hala, is that six rockets hit this port city, the third largest city in Israel within the last hour. One person dead, 30 wounded, some of them seriously. Some people are trapped inside a building, a house, that partially collapsed, and the rescue services are now on the scene trying to deal with that particular situation.
This has been an extremely busy last hour or two in Haifa. The air-raid sirens sounded about two hours ago, and we saw seven rockets land in open areas. There were no injuries reported. About an hour later, we saw and heard the air-raid sirens and then immediately followed by six large impacts. And one could see the smoke rising from various parts of the city below us.
We're hearing now the latest. So far, one dead and 30 people wounded, some seriously. And some people are trapped within buildings. Paula Hancocks is on the scene there at one of the rocket impacts.
Paula, you're outside, I gather, one of the buildings which partially collapsed. What's the latest there?
HANCOCKS: That's right, Fionnuala. I'm standing outside it now. We can see the whole front of the building is just not there anymore. There is rubble on the floor and part of the front of the building has collapsed as well. What we have been seeing the emergency services doing in the past few minutes, or so, is actually sifting through this rubble.
They're trying to very delicately see, I assume, if anybody is actually underneath the rubble. They're not letting anyone too close. The cameras are all outside, but they're not letting anyone into the area itself. And they are also trying to get through some of the doors that have been crushed to try and see if there was anybody inside.
I'm hearing, as well, that this could be the daily Arab news headquarters, or at least very close by. I haven't been able to double checked that, but we believe that is very close by, at least the newspaper. This is the Israeli/Arab quarter of Haifa, itself. And it is quite high densely populated. The roads are quite narrow, and the houses are pretty much back onto each other. Obviously, there was a lot of damage around about as well.
Just walking down this narrow road, there's glass everywhere. There are chairs, broken up chairs, broken windows, and there's a blind I can see about 30 meters away from the actual point of impact. So it was certainly -- I can see from the damage here, it was certainly a very expensive rocket hit, and the latest we know, is one dead and according to the emergency services eight or nine seriously injured, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: Paula, the mayor you said, of Haifa, was in the vicinity a short while ago. He has consistently said that Haifa would be able to withstand these attacks, that the economy of Haifa will withstand these attacks. What is the mood now on the streets with people around? What do they feel with this constant, but rather intermittent barrage of rockets, that they can continue life as possible?
HANCOCKS: Well, it's interesting, Fionnuala. I have been to the immediate aftermath of many of these rocket attacks, and usually you see many people milling around, seeing what's happened, and what's been hit. To see if they can do any -- if they can help at all. But this one feels a little different. People do feel very edgy. You can see absolute nerves in people's eyes. They're very tense.
As soon as one of the ambulance doors actually closed, it made a loud bang and everybody jumped. Certainly, the residents here are very jumpy, the fact that it hit this particular area, and hit at this particular time of night, which is later than Hezbollah usually chooses to launch these rockets at northern Israel. And also the fact Haifa really hadn't been targeted as much over the past few days.
We saw, obviously, that has been one of the deadliest rocket attacks Kiryat Shmona, just north of that, earlier on Sunday, which killed 12. Down here people had started to think that maybe the rockets couldn't reach them anymore, but certainly tonight they're proved wrong, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: We're just hearing, Paula, now from the ambulance services here in Haifa that 65 people wounded have been evacuated to hospitals. So the casualty toll at the moment, one person dead, and 65 wounded taken to the hospital. Some people also, we understand, trapped in at least one building in the city.
Paula, of course, these rockets don't only do so much damage because of their impact on the ground, but it is also what is contained within those rockets that really do a lot of damage to people, who might be inside buildings or even cars.
HANCOCKS: That's right. We saw the actual warhead of these rockets. They pack thousands of little pellets, which basically as soon as the point of impact happens, they act like thousands of bullets from a gun. We are being told by (INAUDIBLE) this is how actually most people are injured, it's not from the point of impact. They could be 20, 30 meters away, but it's when they're hit by the pellets, that does the most damage.
You can see around areas where rockets have hit, there are big gouges out of concrete walls from just one little pellet. So, you can just imagine what that does to a person. This is why the authorities are saying to everybody when you hear the siren you absolutely must go inside, you must find shelter. The police -- I've seen the police and ambulance services themselves do it. So, obviously, this is for a reason, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: Paula Hancocks reporting from the scene of one of the rocket impacts in Haifa, one of six rockets which landed in Israel's third largest city within the last hour. One person dead and 65 people taken to hospital and some people are believed to be trapped in a building that partially collapsed.
From here for the moment, Hala, back to you.
GORANI: All right, I'm Hala Gorani in Beirut. Before we take a short break, a quick recap on what happened in Lebanon this day.
There were two explosions that we heard from our position. Israeli air strikes in the southern suburbs of the city. Our Jim Clancy visited the site. He will be joining us in the coming hours, as well as our Bureau Chief Brent Sadler.
The result of Israeli activity in Lebanon this day, 11 people killed. As the diplomatic discussions seemed to have reached an impasse on this conflict, the death toll continues to climb on both sides of our border. We'll have a lot more on the crisis here in the Middle East. Stay with us on CNN.
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