Go-Jamaica Gleaner Classifieds Discover Jamaica Youth Link Jamaica
Business Directory Go Shopping inns of jamaica Local Communities

Lead Stories
Arts &Leisure
In Focus
The Star
E-Financial Gleaner
Overseas News
The Voice
Hospitality Jamaica

1998 - Now (HTML)
1834 - Now (PDF)
Find a Jamaican
Live Radio
News by E-mail
Print Subscriptions
Dating & Love
Free Email
Submit a Letter
Weekly Poll
About Us
Gleaner Company
Contact Us
Other News
Stabroek News

Driving under fire in Lebanon
published: Sunday | July 30, 2006

BEIRUT (Reuters):

Ahmed Suleimani looks out for Israeli warships on the horizon when he drives along Lebanon's coastal road, praying his truck won't come under fire.

"You don't know when they will strike. Many of my friends were targeted and martyred by bombing," he said.

Trucks, vans and cars have been a daily target for the Israeli military in its war with Hezbollah, killing dozens on the roads and hindering delivery of food supplies to villages in need of replenishment.

An Israeli warplane narrowly missed the truck of Suleimani's brother-in-law while he was trying to deliver mineral water to a village in the Bekaa valley. "The missile struck in front of him, but thanks to God he survived," Suleimani said.

Others have been less fortunate. Suleimani, who usually transports commercial goods from Beirut port, says four of his colleagues have been killed on the roads.

Trucks targetted

Israel says it hits vehicles carrying Hezbollah weapons. An army spokeswoman said targeted trucks have been carrying Hezbollah rockets, while cars have been involved in transporting smaller arms and bombs.

Taxi driver Ibrahim Khaled was evacuating his family from southern Lebanon when a missile struck just in front of his car. He had seen six cars destroyed on the roadside. "The people inside were burning," he said.

Before the strike, he could hear the sound of an aircraft overhead. "You can hear their noise but you can't see them. Then they strike," he said.

Many drivers have stopped working.

Prompted by Israeli rocket strikes on parked trucks, Soheil al-Ayyash has taken the precaution of hiding his truck in an underground garage.

"Wherever they see a truck, they bomb. I'm hiding it in the same way as I'm hiding my son," Ayyash said. "I just go, pay the parking fee, and run. I'm not even going to check up on the truck, let alone drive it."

Refused work offer

An aid agency offered him US$1,000 to take food to the southern city of Tyre, which has been heavily pounded in the war which began on July 12. He refused despite the financial hardship caused by losing his source of income.

"I said no way. I'm not taking the truck out. A colleague did that and they incinerated his truck and killed him."

The United Nations has said targeting of commercial lorries, together with destruction of roads and bridges, has seriously hampered relief operations for 750,000 people displaced by a war which has killed 458 people in Lebanon and 51 Israelis.

"We have been able to find drivers but it's taking a lot of time and effort. It's not just the drivers who are concerned, but also the truck owners," World Food Programme spokesman Robin Lodge said.

Truck driver Mohammed Mraad said US$10,000 would not convince him to make the trip to Tyre.

"You drive and you're in God's hands," he said.

More In Focus

Print this Page

Letters to the Editor

Most Popular Stories

Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd.
Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Letters to the Editor | Suggestions | Add our RSS feed
Home - Jamaica Gleaner