With a targeted missile strike in the center of downtown Tyre, Israel destroyed a building reportedly associated with Hezbollah. But while the destruction was complete, it was not bloodless, nor without repercussions.
The attack obliterated an empty seven-story apartment building Wednesday, wounding 13 people, including six children, who were living in the building next door. The target was reportedly the offices of Hezbollah’s southern Lebanon commander, Sheik Nabil Kaouk.
It was the second missile strike in less than three days against the same residential neighborhood, although this one was much more powerful than the first.
The hit Wednesday evening created a thunderous explosion that could be felt a few miles away. A plume of black smoke rose into the horizon as ambulances rushed to the scene. The alleyway leading to the building churned with smoke, cinders and debris.
I had been conducting an interview only blocks away and arrived on the scene within 10 minutes of the blast. Young men from the predominately Muslim neighborhood were already in the adjoining structure, removing the injured.
One man was carrying a baby out of the building. The boy looked unharmed and wasn’t even crying, but his face was covered with pale gray soot. Within moments, his mother followed, her face also covered with soot, blackening her teeth when the moisture from her mouth turned the dust into a fine, wet grit, giving her the appearance of a character out of a Beijing opera.
Within seconds another man rushed out of the building, carrying a boy of about 7, unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. He was placed in one of two ambulances at the scene. Soon, others were helped out of the building: a woman screaming hysterically; another, head slumped forward as she was carried by men on both sides of her; and then another, a victim bleeding from the head who walked out to the ambulance on his own.