Though Israel emphasized that Hizbullah was to blame for waging its rocket war against Israel from within a civilian population, Foreign Ministry officials repeated their "deep regret at the loss of innocent life in the campaign against Hizbullah," and were forced to promise a "thorough and comprehensive examination."
However, the incident may have been all one big fraud, staged by Arab elements for the world media in order to lead precisely to the situation described above.
The central piece of evidence leading to this conclusion is the fact, mentioned by IDF officials from the very beginning, that the building collapsed a full seven hours after the Israel Air Force bombing. Why, then, would the residents inside not have been evacuated in the meantime? As Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel of the Israeli Air Force told reporters Sunday night, “It is difficult for me to believe that they waited eight hours to evacuate it.” Without additional evidence, Eshel merely left open the possibility that Hizbullah terrorists, or explosives they left behind, caused the explosion.
"Indeed," writes Robert Spencer for FrontPageMagazine, "it strains credulity that not only did these Lebanese civilians remain in a house that had been bombed for eight hours, but peacefully went to sleep in it after the bombing – since the victims were all apparently sleeping, despite continuing Israeli air bombardment in the area, when the building collapsed."
Gen. Eshel also said that the building was used by Hizbullah to store explosives. This was supported by a letter by Dr. Mounir Herzallah, a southern Lebanese Shiite, who wrote that Hizbullah terrorists came to his town, dug a munitions depot and then built a school and a residence directly over it.
In addition, as Reuven Koret writes for IsraelInsider, the bombing of the area occurred in three waves. The first bombs, according to CNN correspondent Brent Sadler, did not hit the building in question, but rather landed "20 or 30 meters" away. The second strike hit targets further away, and the third strike, around 7:30 in the morning, landed over 400 meters away. The first reports of a collapsed building arrived a half-hour later.
Another CNN correspondent, Ben Wedeman, noted that there was a larger crater next to the building. He observed that the roof of the building was intact and that the building appeared not to have collapsed as a result of the Israeli strike.
Thus, the building was used to store explosives, was apparently not destroyed by the bombing, and sheltered dozens of women and children throughout a night of bombing. The identity of the victims was also not clear, except that they were not the original occupants of the building; a National Public Radio correspondent reported that they had left. "The victims were non-residents who chose to shelter in the building that night," Koret writes, and who were "'too poor' to leave the town, one resident told CNN's Wedeman. Who were these people?"
Hear Koret speak about the Hizbullah manipulation on IsraelNationalRadio.com.
As an aside, the hospital in Tyre, Lebanon, and Human Rights Watch both reported today that 28 people were killed in the Kafr Kana bombing, and not twice that number, as originally reported.
Other facts brought by Koret and Spencer:
* Sometime after dawn a call went out to journalists and rescue workers to come to the scene. Though Hizbullah has been claiming that civilians could not freely flee the scene due to Israeli destruction of bridges and roads, the journalists and rescue teams from nearby Tyre had no problem getting there.
* Lebanese rescue teams did not start evacuating the building until after the camera crews came. The absence of a real rescue effort was explained by saying that equipment was lacking. There were no scenes of live or injured people being extracted.
* There was little blood, CNN's Wedeman noted, concluding that the victims appeared to have died while they were sleeping - despite the thunderous Israeli air attacks. Rescue workers equipped with cameras were removing the bodies from one opening in the collapsed structure, and journalists were not allowed near it.
* Rescue workers carrying the victims on stretchers occasionally flipped up the blankets so that cameras could show the faces and bodies of the dead. But, Koret noted, the ashen-gray faces of the victims gave cause to think that the bodies looked like they had been dead for days.
* Photos of the rescue operation transmitted all over the world are "extremely suspicious," Spencer writes, citing work by EU Referendum showing numerous anomalies in the photos. "Most notably," he writes, "the dating of the various photos suggests that the same bodies were paraded before reporters on different occasions, each time as if they had just been pulled from the rubble. [In addition], some workers are wearing different gear in different photos, yet clearly carrying the same corpse."
* The Christian Lebanese (French-language) website LIBANOSCOPIE has charged that Hizbullah staged the entire incident in order to stimulate calls for a ceasefire, thereby staving off its destruction by Israel and Lebanese plans to rid themselves of this terrorist plague.
Spencer concludes, "Americans and Westerners are not used to dealing with carefully orchestrated and large-scale deception of this kind. It is time that it be recognized as a weapon of warfare, and an extremely potent one at that."