Quote from Qana

I've recently started Robert Fisk's book on the war in Lebanon, Pity the Nation - Lebanon at War, and for some reason I read the last chapter first. The chapter concerns the massacre in Qana in April 1996 when Israel bombed the UN compound there filled to the brink with Lebanese civilians. Fisk interviewed one of the survivors and starts the chapter with a quote from her account of the bombing.

A man was lying in two pieces. There was a woman who was pregnant and I could see the arm and leg of her unborn baby poking out of her stomach. There was a man who had shrapnel in his head. He was not dead but you could see a piece of metal in his neck, like he'd had his throat cut. He told his daughter to come to help him and lift him up. And I heard her say: 'Wait a minute, I'm trying to put my brother together - he's in two pieces.' There was another brother holding a child in his arms. The child had no head...

106 civilians, most of them Shia Muslims, were killed that day. Israel claimed that they bombed the UN compound for 18 minutes due to a computer error. Israel originally repsonded to Hezbollah mortar fire close to the compound. Fisk offers a pretty detailed description of the massacre and his own experience in the book. A more detailed story of the aftermath (the UN investigation, Israeli excuses, etc) can be found in Odd Karsten Tveit's book Krig og Diplomati: Oslo - Jerusalem 1978-1996.

The UN conclusion of the investigation was as follows:

While the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors.

Waltz with Bashir - articles

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month