For those who live in Beirut, it feels like a city under siege. The bombardment has turned the normally bustling Lebanese capital into a ghost town. In the chaos and the rubble, “ordinary” life no longer exists. Now in its sixth day, Israel’s countrywide offensive has destroyed at least a quarter of Hezbollah’s fighting capabilities, according to an Israeli press report. But the Yedioth Ahronoth daily adds that the guerrilla group’s chain of command remains intact.
Following the visit of its foreign policy chief to Beirut, the European Union is today set to urge all parties to work to end the violence. But it will stop short of demanding an immediate ceasefire, according to a draft statement. Javier Solana is to brief EU foreign ministers in Brussels on his talks with Lebanese leaders. Following in his footsteps, France’s Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is visiting Beirut today. It comes as efforts continue to help foreign nationals flee the country.
“We want to go home because we are scared,” said one German woman, preparing to board a coach to Damascus.
“Everyone is scared. We are going through Syria and from there to Germany. The German Embassy has done the best job it can.”
In its first official evacuation from Lebanon, meanwhile, Britain said it had taken around 40 people out of Beirut by military helicopter.