2 YOUNG BOYS KILLED BY MISSILE IN NAZARETH
By GABE ROSS, Associated Press Writer
July 19, 2006
- Hezbollah rockets Wednesday slammed into this Arab-Israeli town revered as the place where Jesus grew up, killing two young
brothers as they played outside and wounding 18 other people, Israeli authorities said.
The attack on Nazareth —
the first by the Lebanese guerrillas to reach near important holy sites — came hours after Israeli troops engaged in
a fierce firefight with Hezbollah inside Lebanon, a clash that killed two soldiers and one militant.
ran to a building in flames from one of the airstrikes to help firefighters unwind hoses. Another strike killed brothers ages
3 and 9, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. Television footage showed a large crater in the middle of the road.
"It's a vacation and it's
afternoon so where will they go if not to play in the streets?" Mohammed Assawi, who saw the attack, told Israel's
Channel 10. "It is unpleasant to say what we saw."
Nazareth is the largest Israeli-Arab town in the country and the center
of Arab life in northern Israel.
It also is a key site in
Christian tradition. The Galilee town of 70,000 people is filled with churches, including the Basilica of the Annunciation,
the largest basilica in the Middle East, which towers over the town center. The basilica
stands on the site where Christians believe the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary and told her of the coming birth of Jesus.
Previous attacks during
the 8-day-old rocket barrage have hit the nearby Jewish town of Upper Nazareth.
A total of 18 people were
wounded in the attacks on Nazareth, Rosenfeld said. Police
had previously reported that a third person was killed but later said that report was incorrect.
No sirens went off to warn
Nazareth of the impending rocket strike, said Cabinet Minister
Haim Ramon, expressing regret and saying the problem needed to be fixed. Air raid sirens routinely sound in many Jewish towns
before a rocket attack, but local Arab leader Shawki al Khatib said the town had no sirens.
He said he was not surprised
the town was hit.
"A Katyusha that is fired
does not discriminate," he told Israel's
Channel 2 TV.
Earlier Wednesday, a special
unit of Israeli troops entered several miles into southern Lebanon
in search of tunnels and weapons, sparking an intense clash with Hezbollah guerrillas, military officials said.
Two soldiers were killed
in the fighting and nine others were wounded, two moderately, the army said.
Hezbollah then pounded the
area with mortars, making it difficult for Israel
to rescue the wounded soldiers, military officials said. The mortar attack damaged an Israeli tank that was part of the rescue
mission, military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details of
Medics in northern Israel said more than 100 rockets had been fired from south Lebanon during the day. Since fighting began on July 12, 16 Israelis have been
killed in rocket attacks.