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Srifa was a bustling hillside village. Then yesterday the Israeli jets came
Aliyah, 30, lay on a life support machine in the Jabal Amal hospital in a coma. She was one of a handful of survivors who made it out of Srifa, a village in south-east Lebanon. The man treating her put her chances of survival at less than 20%. "She has severe injuries and has lost a lot of blood," he said.
Fatima Ali Ashma was more fortunate, but not much more. She lay on a hospital bed struggling to breathe.
The force of the blast which overturned the mini van she was fleeing in crushed her chest, damaging her lungs. She sustained severe injuries to her neck and arm.
Speaking slowly and with difficulty, she described what had happened to her. "In the morning we woke up to find that 10 people in the village had been killed. The authorities told us that if we could leave we should get out. So we got in the car and left. As we were leaving, they bombed the road in front of us." There were 10 people in the van with Fatima: all were wounded. "No ambulance could get through. Everyone who could has left Srifa, but the dead bodies are still in the houses."
The attack destroyed 15 houses, killed at least 17, and wounded at least 30. It happened on a day in which 63 people were killed in the bloodiest day of the Middle East conflict so far.
Srifa sits on a hillside overlooking a coastal plain that leads down to a sandy bay which ends with the white cliffs of Naqora and the border with Israel. It was a local beauty spot, where tourists came to see turtles lay their eggs. But it is also in the Hizbullah heartland from which rockets been fired into Israel.
Yesterday, plumes of smoke could be seen rising from its red-tiled rooftops, outlined on the horizon, as the Israelis flattened it. "There was a massacre in Srifa," its mayor, Afif Najdi, told Reuters.