Beirut suburb resembles quake zone | india | Hindustan Times
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Beirut suburb resembles quake zone

india Updated: Jul 20, 2006 01:43 IST
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In the rubble of a south Beirut district reduced to wasteland by Israeli bombardment, Hassan Ghamloush searched in vain for his family home.

Residents said about 70 buildings in Haret Hreik, Hezbollah's stronghold in the Lebanese capital, have been flattened since Israel launched air strikes last week when the guerrilla group abducted two Israeli soldiers.

A few people who had fled the area returned on Tuesday to inspect the damage or retrieve belongings, nervously listening for Israeli warplanes and jumping at the slightest sound.

"I sent my family to the mountains and came back to find my house destroyed. There is no sign of it," said Ghamloush, who lived close to Haret Hreik.  "Our life's work is gone, but thank God we were saved."  Another resident compared the area to an earthquake zone.

Hezbollah, which has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel during the weeklong confrontation, maintained its political and security headquarters and media organisations in Haret Hreik.  Debris from the raids littered the mainly deserted streets.

Broken glass, water tanks and satellite dishes lay on the ground and water from broken pipes filled the potholes in the roads. Some buildings still standing were blackened from fires.  Stray cats sniffed around a damaged sandwich stall for the remains of food. Carpets and rugs lay in front of a ruined shop.  A compound used by the Shia guerrilla group for rallies and celebrations was also destroyed.

One man living on the edge of Hezbollah's stronghold said he could not get past the collapsed buildings to reach his house.