In Lebanon, the sounds of rocket fire, artillery shells and air-raids were quickly replaced by car horns and revving engines with thousands of people heading home as soon as the UN-brokered truce went into effect. When the shooting stopped, the propaganda war began. Hizbollah supporters handed out glossy leaflets with slogans in English like “The Divine Victory.”
Defiant Lebanese flashed V-for-victory signs and waved posters of Hizbollah leader Sayyad Hassan Nasrallah. Some of those who were returning felt that Hizbollah’s defiance of Israel outweighed the destruction.
One man said: “The damage is not important. What is important is that we win. And God protect Hassan Nasrallah.”
A woman was more circumspect and said.
“We are happy because we are going home but we don’t know what we will find.”
Even the journey is uncertain. Israel warned that its ban on traffic travelling on Lebanese roads south of the Litani River remained in place and that vehicles risked attack by Israeli forces.
That did not stop people driving across a makeshift bridge and heading south.
Their vehicles loaded down with family possessions, some were overjoyed to reach what is left of their homes and property. One man kissed the ground as soon as he got out of his car.
The Lebanese government urged residents to stay away until army engineers are able to carry out inspections for unexploded bombs and shells.
Officials said that already one child had been killed and 15 people wounded by ordnance that exploded as they returned to their homes in south Lebanon.