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In Lebanon, the clock ticks backward

August 10, 2006
If the soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years.'

That was Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, Israel's chief of staff, on July 12, hours after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, and killed three others.

A month later, Israel seems to have kept its promise.

The relentless, month-long bombing by Israel has left huge parts of the country in ruins. Its capital Beirut, once known as the 'Paris of the Middle East,' faces daily air strikes and rocket attacks. Beirut airport has been bombed. And down south, entire villages have been reduced to rubble.

'They have destroyed Lebanon, not Hezbollah, they have set us back 50 years,' Hoda Saab, a retired teacher, was quoted as saying at the Philadelphia international airport after being evacuated from Beirut.

Image: Israeli soldiers fire mortar shells at Hezbollah targets located in southern Lebanon from along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Photographs: Mennahem Kahna/AFP/Getty Images

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