With the UN truce between Israel and Hizbollah in its second day and holding, the people of Beirut’s southern suburbs have returned to sift through the wreckage left by Israeli airstrikes. There was relief it was over, but they were also wary that, with the peace so fragile, they might again be in the line of fire at any moment. So far though there have only been minor breaches of the ceasefire. The Israeli army said Hizbollah had fired rockets or mortars at troops in southern Lebanon but caused no casualties or damage.
Throughout Lebanon, thousands of refugees have been returning to their homes in southern towns and villages, but few have ventured into the areas near the border where Israeli soldiers remain. Southern Beirut is a Hizbollah stronghold which is why it was hit by some of the fiercest Israeli attacks. But despite the destruction, the Shi’ite residents have remained loyal and defiant and mostly voiced approval of the guerrilla fighters. Meanwhile, planning is under way for a beefed up UN force to be deployed in the south of the country.
Lebanon plans to send 15,000 soldiers to operate alongside the international force, but said they will not disarm Hizbollah, which is what Israel wanted.