Party of God Using Human Shields in a Christian Neighborhood:

[NEW UPDATE: NY Times: But for some of the Christians who had made it out in this convoy, it was not just privations they wanted to talk about, but their ordeal at the hands of Hezbollah — a contrast to the Shiites, who make up a vast majority of the population in southern Lebanon and broadly support the militia.

"Hezbollah came to Ain Ebel to shoot its rockets," said Fayad Hanna Amar, a young Christian man, referring to his village. "They are shooting from between our houses." ... Mr. Amar said Hezbollah fighters in groups of two and three had come into Ain Ebel, less than a mile from Bint Jbail, where most of the fighting has occurred. They were using it as a base to shoot rockets, he said, and the Israelis fired back.

One woman, who would not give her name because she had a government job and feared retribution, said Hezbollah fighters had killed a man who was trying to leave Bint Jbail.

“This is what’s happening, but no one wants to say it” for fear of Hezbollah, she said.]

The Australian Herald Sun publishes the picture below and others, smuggled out of Lebanon. According to the Herald Sun, the pictures were taken in a Christian neighborhood in East Beirut town called Wadi Chahrour [my error corrected], and show Lebanese Party of God (Hezbollah) militiamen, in civilian clothes, hiding and using weapons in a densely populated area.

The Melbourne man who smuggled the shots out of Beirut told yesterday how he was less than 400m from the block when it was obliterated.

``Hezbollah came in to launch their rockets [counterterrorism blog wrote about this a few days ago], then within minutes the area was blasted by Israeli jets,'' he said.

``Until the Hezbollah fighters arrived, it had not been touched by the Israelis. Then it was totally devastated.

``After the attacks they didn't even allow the ambulances or the Lebanese Army to come in until they had cleaned the area, removing their rockets and hiding other evidence.

``Two innocent people died in that incident but it was so lucky it was not more. ` `The people there were horrified and disgusted at what Hezbollah were doing.''

The fighters used trucks, driven into residential areas, as launch pads for the rockets, he said.

Thanks to reader Victor Steinbok for the tip.

UPDATE: Party of God gets what it wants: There are only two reasons to put missile launchers in (when they are not in use) and next to (when they are in use) apartment buildings, and, for that matter, to have your local militia headquarters double as the local bomb shelter; the first is the hope that it will dissuade the enemy from attacking you, and the second is the hope that if they do bomb you, many civilians will be killed, leading to a propaganda victory. Unfortunately, the Party of God has benefited from both--many commentators in the Israeli media believe that the eight Israeli soldiers killed and dozens wounded a few days ago would not have met this fate if, instead of going house to house to search for Party of God fighters, Israel had leveled the buildings they were hiding in. So the Party of God got at least a partial military victory. Today, Israel leveled a building they were hiding in, which unfortunately also turned out to house many innocent children. So the Party of God gets a propaganda victory. Those who relexively condemn Israel when the Party of God's strategy works (and Israel inadvertantly kills civilians) are being worse than naive; they are encouraging not just the Party of God, but other terrorist groups, to use human shields in the future, as it proves to be an effective strategy.

Further Update: Here's footage of the Party of God firing missiles at Israel from behind an apartment building.