Four days of counting explosions in Beirut

Syrian TV images of fires in Lebanon. (EI)

Thursday 13 July

I saw my first bomb. : (

It was sort of an orange glow in a mound shape a ways off in the distance. Shortly thereafter we heard the boom. That spot was still burning just a bit ago from up on the roof. Israel dropped Arabic-language propaganda leaflets around at about 8:30 pm saying something about how it is all because of Hizbullah … I have one that fell on our roof.

Friday 14 July

3:30 am

Awoke to planes overhead and another explosion to the south. Apparently
anti-aircraft also, red lights coming up from ground. My roommate Meredith
heard three bombs so far tonight or three planes … Now Meredith thinks she’s heard four bombs and/or sonic booms. The anti-aircraft go up as red lights and then twinkle white in the sky. It’s still burning away in the south. The anti-aircraft were coming up not only from the south but from a more easterly neighborhood too. We can hear muezzin (call to prayer) singing someplace not too incredibly far away.

4:15 am

Another really loud plane and blast followed by at at least another plane (my roommate Amanda says a sonic boom). Lots of anti-aircraft (you dont always see them twinkle).

4:38 am

Another loud blast felt this one. Just when you think you can go back to bed. Amanda felt the door shake downstairs.

4:46 am

Another blast. These last two we didn’t seem to see so I don’t know whether they came from the same area. The smoke from the southern fire is spread all across the sky. Amanda said the US vetoed some UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel and I said thats half the reason the US exists.

6:00 am

Amanda sad there were two more bombs around 5:00 am. We still have power.

7:30 am

Meredith says she counted seven or eight blasts total. She heard on the news
that they hit fuel reserves, which explains the fire and black smoke still across the sky.

7:44 am

Jo Trainer, who lives in our building, says we’re about two kilometers from the southern areas that were being hit. Israel hit the rest of the runways at the airport, the Beirut-Damascus highway and some buildings in the southern suburbs supposedly belonging to Hezbullah offices.

11:26 am

So the power went out while we were sleeping; were not sure exactly why, but it’s been out since sometime between 9:45 and 10:45 at least.

12:22 pm

Still fly-overs, sonic booms, anti-aircraft fire. Venturing out.

1:30 pm

I’ve come up through Sassine to Sodeco and found the bagel shop. Lots of
places still have power though our techpoint did not. Hopefully I can find an Internet place to check the news and send emails.

7:30 pm

They’ve struck again. I heard and felt two whilst making some food. I went up to the roof and our neighbor Rida said there were four straight in a row. Smoke was rising from the south. Power’s gone out.

7:37 pm

Two more. Power’s back on. Apparently Hizbullah is hitting Israel with rockets simultaneously. I’ve been thinking all day how I’m going to get a tattoo of the Lebanese cedar tree. It’s pretty odd to just sit on a roof on an otherwise lovely evening and watch a plume of smoke billow up into and across the sky. Muezzin call off in the distance again. Rida said with some conviction earlier that this is one of the safest parts of Beirut to be in — they’ll never hit Achrafiye. He said stay here, don’t go to Hamra … that was earlier when I was sunning on the roof. It was so easy to imagine the fly-overs were just passenger jets coming in for landing.

9:00 pm
Apparently when I was in the shower I missed a bunch more blasts and anti-aircraft. Meredith says there were three blasts. Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah came on TV saying Hizbullah is ready to go to war.

9:13 pm

On CNN, Reuters report that an Israeli warship here was hit by a rocket. Israel needs to be told: “Behave. Less noise.”

Saturday 15 July

I didn’t hear anything overnight. I’m trepidatious that they’re building up something, because they wouldn’t just stop after Nasrallah and trying to hit, well hitting their ship and all.

1:23 pm

Blast in Beirut. Meredith and i went to the embassy. They’re useless. They’ve been bombing bridges and gas stations in the north, east, and south. They’ve never hit in the north before. Meredith: “Every hour, every bomb that drops, we’re getting more and more trapped.”


Another blast.



Rida, Adnan, Meredith and I might try to get to Syria if we can figure anything out. Rida heard a rumour that the US is sending a ship to evacuate, but i don’t know. Sara, the American girl upstairs, left yesterday morning - she was smart. It’s not easy to get to Syria anymore because they’ve bombed out all the roads.

2:02 pm

Four more consecutively.

4:50 pm

Two more blasts while in the south city while we were walking back from
George’s Farah restaurant. Israel hit the Lebanon-Syria border … Rida said his cousin’s neighborhood Dahiya in south Beirut is fucked, and his father’s
village in the south is half on the ground.


There was a loud blast while i was in the shower. I had previously not heard what’s gone on while showering, so it was really loud.

6:03 pm

Two more. So far we’ve heard 37 hits by my and Meredith’s count.

6:21 pm

A thunder rolling sound and another blast. Apparently that sound, with the rolling before the blast, means an attack from the warship, according to the shop owner Michel. The view south of here is just grey smoke. You can’t see half the hills anymore.

6:39 pm

Another hit from the war ship. Our neighbor Adnan says the Arabic news
reports they’ve bombed tripoli.

6:44 pm

Four big blasts in a row, big dark smoke. Adnan says Israel is worried
they’ll hit Haifa …

6:46 pm

Three more with the dark dark smoke.

6:52 pm

Two more loud ones; we don’t see the smoke. They were also in Dahiya area it would seem … Adnan: “American has created a monster and the monster is not necessarily going to listen.” Adnan thinks the road to Tripoli might still be open. He’s going to try to go up there tomorrow.

7:14 pm

We heard another hit from the warship.

7:31 pm

Two more.

7:32 pm

Two more whilst I was in the elevator.

Adnan is an american/lebanese professor of comparative literature who lives in Arkansas. He knows Chomsky and knew Said. Said wrote “beginnings” in Adnan’s house. Adnan dated Said’s sister Joyce. He used to teach in Berkeley and in Amherst, also Philly. “Modern Literary Criticism: Roads Taken and Roads Not Taken” - Said lecture at Georgetown. He’d not brought his notes, spent half an hour in the hotel bar and gave this amazing lucid speech unprepared. Israel hit wheat silos in Jounieh and elsewhere. Aneesh Raman on CNN says that Syria is being very lax on letting people across the borders. According to Adnan, already the damage is estimated at $10 billion.

8:38 pm

Three more hits on Dahiya.

9:11 pm

Two more hits on Dahiya. They’ve just come on CNN and said they’re “working on” a plan to evacuate us to Cyprus and they’ll let us know as more info becomes available. So nothing new.

10:20 pm

Three loud loud blasts while we’re at Michel’s shop. Amanda screamed bloody murder. Men came running down the street to go see and one looked at us and said “don’t worry ma’am!” Steve the teacher is saying that the American boat to Cyprus will cost around $2000.

Sunday 16 July

12:35 am

Sudden superloud blast; Amanda screamed like hell again. it was so sudden.
Two loud blasts; we counted to five between the flash and the boom so I
don’t know, the girls think it’ll be a couple miles from here. We can
smell the burning.

12:45 am

Another blast, six counts after the flash. I heard the plane before that one and I …

12:50 am

We just saw four yellow lights in the sky like falling stars and they dissappeared. Two huge loud blasts and more smoke from down in Dahiye. Some of these are a lot louder than previous ones.

12:57 am

Yet again. That makes 68 we’ve heard so far.

1:06 am

A really pretty flash and another blast. We hear another plane.

1:07 am

Flash, boom. Meredith thinks it was one of the warship missiles. That’s 70.

1:13 am

Flash, loud boom, another loud boom, and another loud boom with no
apparent flash. Meredith: “72 hours 73 blasts, that’s nice.”

1:17 am

Let’s say three more, unless one had a reverb sound.

1:19 am

Flash … Boom! We’re just sitting here joking and laughing recording bomb blasts. It’s fucked up.

1:39 am

Two big ol’ bomb blasts.

1:57 am

About to go to bed there was another blast.

2:01 am


2:11 am


Are we going to start a 10 minute trend?

2:14 am


Guess not.

2:15 am

x x

2:27 am

x x

2:40 am


Loud. We might just hit a hundred yet tonight. We’ll see. I need some sleep.

2:55 am

x x

3:00 am

A cat was screeching out on the street for some reason.

4:12 am


4:17 am


Loud! I’m so tired; it’s hard to keep track of these!

4:22 am


4:25 am

Three simple booms a bit quieter.

4:28 am


It’s been getting tough in my exhaustion to gauge how many of the quieter ones go off at once.

8:11 am

Big blast. It’s interesting; you can feel the vibration/jolt of it in the air. Meredith says i missed one at five am.

10:16 am

CNN: 93 Lebanese dead, 257 wounded. I didn’t realize this before now but they said on CNN that they hit a lighthouse right near downtown, by AUB apparently. There was a new strike on Haifa with something like rad2 or rad3
missiles … I don’t know what that means.

10:53 am

Four out of nowhere. That’s 101.

10:57 am

One that echoes, possibly two … dunno. I’m more inclined to think I
heard two, but that’s just my opinion. that’s what i’m going to put in
my count.

11:05 am

x x x

Bathroom door shook. CNN says that local media reports a major power station is burning.

11:14 am

x x

The reporter on CNN is counting these differently than I am … He’ll
say my two is one resounding, so …

1:49 pm

Two blasts while we’re at the Internet place.

1:57 pm


2:08 pm

There’s two.

Israel is calling this “Operation Just Reward”

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Jenney Thorson is an American residing in Achrafiye, Beirut. She is
originally from Wisconsin. This is her first time in Lebanon.