Israeli Bombs Kills 4 UN Observers

An Israeli air strike has killed four United Nations (UN) military observers at their base in southern Lebanon, the UN says.

From the archives - Scenes Of Israeli Massacre At UN Compound in Lebanon  - 1996 Warning! -  This video is very graphic and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

By Reuters

07/26/06 "
ABC" -- -- UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is calling on Israel to investigate the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the base.

"I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defence Forces of a UN Observer post in southern Lebanon," Mr Annan said.

"This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long-established and clearly marked UN post at Khiam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that UN positions would be spared Israeli fire."

UN officials say there had been 14 incidents of firing close to the outpost from Israeli forces in the afternoon before it was hit.

"One aerial bomb directly impacted the building and shelter in the base of the United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon in the area of Khiam," spokesman Milos Strugar said.

Mr Strugar says the firing continued even as rescue operations were under way at the collapsed building.


An Israeli Army spokeswoman says the military is investigating the report.

Mr Annan says the UN force commander in southern Lebanon, General Alain Pelligrini, had been in repeated contact with Israeli officers throughout the day.

He says the General had stressed the need to protect the UN post.

"I call on the Government of Israel to conduct a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack on UN positions and personnel must stop," Mr Annan said.

A US State Department official says Israel has told the United States the air strike was an accident.

"It was a terrible tragedy. we have heard from the Israelis that it was an accident," the official said, who is in Rome with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said.

He has no further details.

Mr Annan says the names and nationalities of the dead peacekeepers are being withheld pending notification of their families.

The hilltop town of Khiam, close to the Israeli border, sheltered an infamous prison during Israel's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon to 2000 but is now a Hezbollah stronghold.

UNIFIL was created in 1978 after Israel's first major invasion of southern Lebanon and has been there ever since.

The United Nations has called for a bigger, better armed, more robust international force in the area.

In case you missed it - Video: Scenes Of Israeli Massacre At UN Compound in Lebanon - 1996 - Warning! -  This video is very graphic and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
- Reuters

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