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Lebanese refugees return to scenes of devastation

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Lebanese refugees return to scenes of devastation


At least half a million Lebanese people, who had fled from the Israeli attacks, are now either home or on their way back. Tens of thousands of families are streaming south, navigating around the destroyed bridges and roads blocked by bomb craters before fording the Litani river. It has been taking drivers around 12 hours to get from Beirut to the southern city of Tyre on what is normally a trip of about an hour. Lebanese soldiers handed out leaflets warning people of the dangers of land mines and unexploded bombs.

The exodus in reverse comes in defiance of pamphlets dropped by Israeli warplanes on Tuesday telling people to stay away for safety reasons. A grim picture greeted people returning to the southern village of Marjayoun, although there was relief as neighbours were reunited.

Hizbollah has promised to help rebuild and repair homes – a clear attempt, say analysts, to renew its claim as a provider of social services. Around 40 bodies were buried in a mass funeral in Tyre on Tuesday evening. It is the third such burial in the city since the war began, with more than 100 people laid to rest so far. At least 1,100 people died in Lebanon during the conflict, most of them civilians.

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