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Israel has put the clock back several decades in Lebanon. And it only took seven days, Lucy Fielder reports
What a difference a week makes. Israel has bombed Lebanon back to the civil war era. At least a couple of hundred Lebanese civilians will never see the tortuous rebuilding effort that will have to start, again, when this tiny Mediterranean country clambers back to its feet. Lives have been snuffed out in their infancy. Lebanon's south, just six years after shaking off Israeli occupation, has witnessed apocalyptic scenes that the Lebanese prayed they would never see again. Last weekend, the only battles most Lebanese were caught up in involved the World Cup, or making ends meet.
One week, and Lebanon became once again a country of cars packed with people and belongings, of suitcases, of makeshift refuges. Some Lebanese are opening their homes to the shell-shocked displaced, others locking them firmly and setting off for Syria, the mountains or abroad for those lucky enough to have dual nationality. About half a million people lived in that dusty, deserted ghost town of Al-Dahiyeh -- Beirut's mainly Shia southern suburbs. After constant pounding by Israeli forces, the sound of bombs flattening the Hizbullah stronghold, of whole apartment buildings collapsing, have become chillingly familiar in the capital. The Israelis have blockaded the city, destroying roads, bridges, the airport and port.