Saturday, May 26, 2007

"I hope they will attack us soon. Then we'll strike back and finish them off"

Here is some excerpts for a Der Spiegel article about the situation in naher el Bared camp. I choose the parts where the journalist interviews a Lebanese soldier.
As a side note, I've always respected the army and its soldiers but after these past days, damn I have become proud and fiercely supportive of our boys!!!

Head here to read the full article
Thanks for Beirut Spring for pointing it out.


"During the next 48 hours, we will eradicate them," says the elite Lebanese soldier, lying behind a freshly raised mound of red earth. "They," of course, are the militants of the radical Palestinian group Fatah Islam. And the effort to eradicate them has virtually destroyed the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Bared where they are holed up.
The ground is strewn with the empty casings of high-caliber bullets; the soot-blackened ruins of the camp north of the Lebanese seaport of Tripoli stand about 200 meters (650 feet) away. Fatah Islam snipers on the roofs take aim at the Lebanese rangers who have dug in east of the camp. "I hope they will attack us soon. Then we'll strike back and finish them off," says the officer, who wants only to be called Spiro.
The terrain on the edge of the camp where Spiro's soldiers have dug in was still in the hands of the Fatah Islam militants on Tuesday. The rangers moved in at dawn on Wednesday, flattening the reeds that grew there and raising protective mounds of earth among the cypress trees. Ranger Rommel can't say how many people he has killed in the past few days. "It must have been a lot," says the 27-year-old, whose parents named him after the German Field Marshal who commanded the Nazi Afrikakorps. "At first it was a shock to be in a real battle after all the training," Rommel says. Later, he adds, it was like being in a movie. "A drunk state in which you don't care whether you're shooting at children, the elderly or militants."

It looks like the movie will play again soon, he says: "We have precise indications that our position will be a target for suicide attacks." The information he has indicates that the attackers will be old women.
At the camp, the soldiers are busy preparing for more fighting. Some, though, are also reflective after the four-day orgy of violence. Spiro, standing next to the wreck of a vehicle that is missing all of its windows, says: "People sought safety in this bus." Large puddles of blood have dried on the pavement below. "They drove towards us. They could have been militants," Spiro says.
His troops were the ones who opened fire on the bus -- before retrieving three corpses and several injured from the wreck. "Terrible, but that's just what war is like."
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