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Mr Hugh Sykes writes:

Eddie Mair | 11:36 UK time, Wednesday, 11 July 2007

"A year ago tomorrow, Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers from across the Lebanese border. It triggered a 34-day war - more than a hundred and fifty Israelis died, and the Lebanese death toll was more than a thousand. Israel didn't beat Hizbollah, and that failure led to political confusion in Israel and high level resignations in the armed forces, who have been accused of mismanaging the conflict.

And it was disastrous for Lebanon - numerous roads were bombed and bridges destroyed, and thousands of homes and blocks of flats were reduced to rubble in days of intense Israeli bombardment."

Hugh was in Lebanon and in Israel this time last year, and is back there.

On PM tonight, he reports from the northern Israeli town of Kiriyat Shmona, where more than a thousand Hizbollah rockets fell. He also hears from the mayor of Haifa - where eleven people died in rocket attacks.

And tomorrow, he's in the Hizbollah heartland in the southern suburbs of Beirut, where about three hundred high rise apartment blocks were destroyed (nearly 15,000 individual flats); he'll tell us about reconstruction there, and the mostly defiant mood of support for Hizbollah. In the same suburbs, he also hears some defiant criticism of the movement led by Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

1420 UPDATE:

BEFORE - August 2006:

Katyusha rocket damage to a stairway at Danziger Comprehensive School, Kiriyat Shmona, Israel, after the 34-Day War in 2006: more than a thousand Katyushas exploded in and around the town.

Deputy-head, and maths teacher, Ofer Zafrani, pointing out shrapnel damage to a steel cabinet in a classroom.

Window and window frame destroyed in the art class. Three Katyushas hit the school - not an obvious target, but Kiriyat Shmona became 'a military base' during the war according to Ofer Zafrani. Students at the school confirm this, and say tanks and rocket launchers fired from near their homes.

AFTER - June 2007:

Danziger school renovated and recovered.

Students checking their exam results in the freshly painted corridors. Many of the students are still jumpy, and are easily startled by loud noises.

The entrance hall - all the windows in the school had to be replaced after the Katyusha explosions.

The view west from the school South Lebanon, where Hizbollah launched their rockets, is just the other side of that 850 metre (2700 feet) mountain. Kyriat Shmona is in a pan-handle of land, with Lebanon to the north and west, and Syria to the east.


  1. At 12:20 PM on 11 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Thanks for the heads up, Eddie,

    I'll look forward to another two of Hugh's insightful reports.

    Kiriyat Shmona is at
    33 12 37.15N 35 34 19.90E for Google Earthers


    Ooooh! It's malicious!

  2. At 12:53 PM on 11 Jul 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Please, Eddie, pass on our good wishes to Hugh and remind him not to take any chances .....

  3. At 01:21 PM on 11 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


  4. At 01:29 PM on 11 Jul 2007, admin annie wrote:

    gosh was that really a year ago? It seems like only a metter of weeks. It's good news that we're hearing from Hugh again, he's defintiely a fave on the frog and with this frogger in particular, but the subject he will be covering is obviously the bad news.

    On the subject of Hugh the Hack - several years ago I heard a report on FOOC from the Phillipines about a little boy who had been abandoned by his father in an area which was renowned for people coming to look for children to have sex with. The father told him he should wait as dad would return to get him later but of course never returned. Hugh, was that you? Even if it was you might not remember it. Now admittedly I had not long since given birth so was hormonally over challenged but I wept buckets.

  5. At 01:52 PM on 11 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    I seem to have sent one comment into the void, but I'm looking forward to the usually insightful stuff from Hugh.

    And, for anyone interested in geography, you can find Kiriyat Shmona at
    33 12 37.15N 35 34 19.90E
    on Giggle Earth
    or here


  6. At 10:35 PM on 11 Jul 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I've been late at the office a lot recently and so keep missing the programme, but I shall hie me to the 'Listen Again' site for this one!

  7. At 03:44 PM on 12 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Salaam, Hugh, and Shalom!

    Thanks once more for an excellent report. I look forward to today's from Lebanon. You're one of the best. I'm curious as to whether you're fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew, or to what extent.

    May all the Gods and powers continue to smile upon you and your ilk!


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