Eyewitness emails: Hizbullah hits Israeli warship

An Israeli navy vessel patrolling the waters near Haifa in northern Israel 13 July 2006. (MaanImages/Magnus Johansson)

2:37 p.m., US CST

We hear misiles coming from the ships; we’re not sure what it is.


2:36 p.m., US CST

When I last sent you an email, Hizbullah just hit an Israeli ship, right next to us; we can see it from the dorm. We saw it burn and sink from here on TV and we can see the other boats surround us more. Everybody was panicking and running and I just shut my computer and gathered my things as we could see the ship sinking. My dorm is right next to the sea.

Although the American University of Beirut (AUB) is pretty safe, right now the fighting is in Beirut, not the south anymore. My close friends and family are in the south, in Beit Jbeil, and they aren’t even being touched now, although yesterday they were hit hard. They’re American and are seperated from their parents right now. So now israel is going to hit residential areas in Beirut.

Bombings were hitting as my friend, whose family is from the south, and I were up on the seventh floor of the dorm, getting our belongings. Then we rushed down to the 1st floor and we heard another bomb and everyone jumped to the ground. As we were running down the stairs the building was shaking.

Here in the AUB new women’s dorm it’s a mix of Lebanese, Americans, Brits, etc. We don’t know what to do, but we think that AUB is the safest place to be right now. But it was terrifiying watching the Israeli ship sink. Now we can see the other ships closing nearer to Beirut and flashing their lights over here. People were clapping here when they hit it, but I wasn’t, because I know this means war. Hizbullah has declared war. And earlier, as the UN was meeting, Israel was bombing southern Beirut. I know this means that Israel will hit Beirut and the north now even harder.

Myself, along with three other Arab-American girls who are friends of mine, some who are the ones I mentioned from my AUB program, are sitting on the floor in the basement of the dorm. We’re not sure what to do now; we just wish we had more communication with the US Embassy or State Department. We have our backpacks ready with our important things and have tried to stock up on food and water since everything is shut down here. Beirut, even around this area of Ras Beirut, has been a ghost town, especially at night. There is no way out because Israel is going to hit the only way to Syria by Tripoli. So unless the US comes for US citizens, we’re stuck for the meantime. Keep us in mind, so that they know American students are here. To think I was supposed to study abroad at AUB for a year. i’ll try to keep in touch; thus far our generator is still working.

Take care,

12:56, US CST

Right now I’m on the AUB campus, so technically I’m in the safest place in Beirut. Ras Beirut for the most part, is felt to be safe. But my dorm is right by the sea. So right out my window i can see four Israeli ships. Last night I heard four bombs, some sent from the ships to southern Beirut, particularely Al-Dahya area. I just heard about three bombs; we’re not sure if they are bombs  or sonic booms, but everyone is scared and jumpy. We americans are not sure what to do. The US Embassy is impossible to get a hold of, and the AUB administration is gone. People right now are huddling around the TV to hear [Hizbullah head] Nasrallah speak. He just said they’re going to hit more than Haifa, so that means they’ll probably hit more parts of Beirut. The road to Damascus is destroyed, and they’re hitting north and we’re blockaded from the sea, so right now we can’t get out. Reports say they’re going to hit more now; we’re rushing to get everything now. If I get the chance to update again I’ll try.

I’ll admit I’m more scared now than I ever have been in Palestine; we just don’t know what to expect.

Take care,

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Leena Odeh is a student at Carleton College. She is spending the year in Beirut.