Israeli air strike kills 7 Canadians in Lebanon
Seven Canadians â€” including four children â€” were killed in an Israeli air raid that hit a Lebanese town on the border with Israel on Sunday. Three Canadians were seriously injured.
Israel has acknowledged carrying out the attack and has apologized to Ottawa, CBC's Nahlah Ayed reported from Beirut.
Most of the dead were members of one extended Montreal family, on vacation in the village of Aitaroun at the time of the Israeli attack. Among those killed was Ali El-Akhras who came to Montreal from Lebanon 15 years ago. His wife, Saada El-Akhras, was among the injured.
The nephew of Ali El-Akhras, also named Ali, had accompanied his uncle and aunt on their annual summer vacation. His wife, Amira, and their four children, ages one, four, six and eight, were killed in the attack.
Reports from Lebanon say the victims were crushed in a collapsed house.
Hassan El-Akhras, the son of Ali El-Akhras, was not with his parents on the trip to Lebanon. He heard about his father's death while he was demonstrating against Israel's attacks on Lebanon in Montreal. Family and friends gathered at the El-Akhras apartment to comfort each other and await further news from Lebanon.
"It's not just us," Hassan El-Akhras told CBC news, "There are a lot of civilians who have been killed. The streets are closed. I am asking the international community to help and put pressure on Israel to stop the bombing."
Ottawa sends vessels to help evacuation
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in Ottawa that plans were being drawn up for a co-ordinated rescue effort by land sea and air for Canadians who want to leave Lebanon.
Ottawa was working with other countries who were trying to get their citizens out of harm's way. Commercial ships were to be hired and sent to the eastern Mediterranean, MacKay said.
"We are securing these vessels. They will be in the region as soon as humanly possible," he told CBC Newsworld.
The Foreign Affairs Department says 16,000 Canadians have registered with the government to say they're in Lebanon, while estimating that there are likely two to three times that many in the country.
On Sunday, for the first time since fighting began, Israeli warplanes unleashed bombs on central Beirut, as well as pounding its suburbs and striking a major power station nearby.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah â€” which spurred the outbreak of violence with a cross-border raid on the Israeli military â€” carried out a deadly rocket attack on the northern Israeli port of Haifa.
About 150 Lebanese, most of them civilians, have died since the violence erupted on Wednesday. At least 24 Israelis, including 12 civilians, have died from Hezbollah rockets.
Last edited by Whisper; July 17th, 2006 at 12:09 AM.