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Family moved to be safer

Nabatiyeh - Hassan al-Abed moved his wife, new-born daughter, Noor, and their six other children to a safer house at this front-line south Lebanon village on Wednesday before setting off on the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

Yesterday an Israeli air raid wiped out all but one member of his family. Two of his close relatives were also killed.

"The poor little girl, she came to this world under the shells and she died by one." said a rescue worker after the body of four-day-old Noor, whose name means "Light" in Arabic, was pulled from the rubble.

"Hassan moved his family here after his wife gave birth to Noor. He thought it would be safer than his house, which is closer to the Israeli position," a cousin told Reuters.

Thinking they would be safe, he left yesterday for Mecca to attend the haj [pilgrimage]," the cousin, who gave his name only as Ali, said as he stood on the collapsed roof of the building. Civil defence workers and Lebanese soldiers were digging victims from the rubble with their bare hands.

A relative said the family were asleep on the lower floor of a two-storey building when, shortly before 7am, guerrillas hurriedly set up a mortar behind a hill next to the village and fired several bombs at an Israeli army post one mile to the east.

The guerrillas apparently fled after the attack - which caused no Israeli casualties - but Abed's family did not. Minutes later, Israeli warplanes slammed five rockets into the village, hitting the family's house and damaging another.