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‘We cried for all of the dead children’: Fijian colonel accuses Israel of a massacre

7 May 1996: A Fijian Colonel tells Robert Fisk that an attack on UN headquarters was deliberate and carried out by Israel

Sunday 19 September 2021 00:24
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<p>A Lebanese woman by the graves of the 105 civilians killed when Israeli artillery shelled the UN compound in Qana during Israel's ‘Grapes of Wrath’ offensive</p>

A Lebanese woman by the graves of the 105 civilians killed when Israeli artillery shelled the UN compound in Qana during Israel's ‘Grapes of Wrath’ offensive

Lieutenant Colonel Wame Waqanivavalagi sat in front of the television of his smashed officers’ mess yesterday afternoon and watched his own headquarters being shelled by the Israelis. As the artillery rounds howled down on the Fijian battalion headquarters at Qana on the videotape in front of him, the colonel – who has spent eight years on United Nations service in southern Lebanon – pointed at the smoke that filled the screen.

“In there, Robert, was an awful place to be,” he said. And he shook his head. “The Israeli ‘margin of error’ was too big to say this was an error. There were two Israeli helicopters observing the shelling in this headquarters – they were observing as shells landed here.” The videotape, which forms the centrepiece of the UN investigation into the attack on Qana – a copy of the film was obtained by The Independent – showed an Israeli pilotless reconnaissance drone, used for artillery spotting, flying low over Qana at the height of the Israeli bombardment. The Israelis said it was on “another mission” but Colonel Waqanivavalagi was unimpressed.

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