When Baalbek Defeated “Israel’s” Commandos
By Latifa Al-Husseini
It had been three weeks since the start of “Israel’s” aggression against Lebanon in July 2006. The “Israelis” were coming under increasing attack while being broken in Bint Jbeil, Aitaroun, and Maroun al-Ras. The settlements of Kiryat Shmona, Kfar Yuval, Kfar Eldad, Safed, Rosh Pinna, Gesher HaZiv, Granot, and Nahariya were under rocket fire from the resistance.
Following atrocious massacres and hundreds of martyrs, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah unveiled the after-Haifa equation. By the 19th day, the enemy began unleashing its anger wherever the opportunity presented itself.
In Lebanon’s Bekaa, reconnaissance planes and fighter jets were hovering from Zahle to the border town of Al-Ain. After a series of disappointments in the southern axes, the “Israeli” War Minister, Amir Peretz, decided to instruct the general staff of the occupation army to attack a medical center in Baalbek’s Tal Al-Abyad district.
The time and place were specified, but assessments about operation pointed to a likely failure before it was even set in motion. At the last minute, when the forces were about to take off, information arrived indicating that the chosen targets would not be on the ground. However, the operation wasn’t canceled due to Peretz’s insistence to move forward.
On the eve of Thursday, July 31, 2006, at 10 p.m., soldiers from the Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) and Shaldag
units were about to launch Operation Sharp and Smooth. The operation was touted among decision-makers as one that would "change the face of the war". Seven continuous hours of military conflict only made them an example of failure, and weakness.
The night of the famous airdrop
Taher Dabbous, a staffer at the Dar Al-Hikma hospital in Baalbek, told Al-Ahed News how 200 Zionist soldiers fast-roped into the area in search of a target.
"After we made the decision to evacuate the employees for their own safety, a group of staffers consisting of about 10 people, including an emergency doctor, nurses, radiology and lab technicians, and administrative drivers stayed behind. Their task was to evacuate the wounded from the bombing in surrounding areas, provide first aid, and then transfer them to other hospitals because Dar al-Hikma was on the list of threatened targets," Dabbous says.
According to Dabbous, the military airdrop began at 10 p.m. with the entire neighborhood coming under shelling in order to isolate the hospital – approximately two kilometers in diameter to prevent anyone from entering. The commando units landed on the eastern side of the hospital where they split into three teams. The first team stationed in the north, the second in the south, and the third jumped off the fence and stayed in the center.
The attack on the hospital did not last long. Soon, clashes ensued. The medical and nursing staff went out to deter the aggressors with the guards’ weapons (individual weapons and Kalashnikovs), according to Dabbous.
The “Israeli” soldiers spent seven hours destroying and attacking. One of their teams stormed the hospital in search of a target that they found no trace of, so instead they destroyed medical equipment and stole hard drives from hospital computers that usually contained information about the staff and the patients.
They also broke windows, destroyed doors, and even planted explosive devices. This vindictive criminal behavior only highlighted their disappointment. They returned to where they came from empty-handed and only left behind more innocent people dead – 11 civilians were martyred in the town of Al-Jamaliah that was near Dar Al-Hikma.
Speaking about the operation, Amir Rapaport, an “Israeli” military affairs commentator, described "what happened as nothing but a show. Officials in the security establishment directed severe criticism at those who led the airdrop because they endangered the lives of 200 soldiers in an operation that was only conducted for advertising purposes."
According to the commentator, the Zionist military and political leadership wanted to achieve some kind of progress that would alter public opinion about the “Israeli” army having difficulty accomplishing something important in the fight against Hezbollah. The objective of the attain intelligence about the fate of the kidnapped soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. However, the operation did nothing.
The lion of Dar Al-Hikma
The Dar Al-Hikma incident proves that the Sun City is insubordinate and cannot be humiliated or broken. The direction of the wind did not come as Amir Peretz desired. The sons of Baalbek managed to thwart the aggressors. They fled under fire. Nurse Atef Amhaz was among those who fought the commandos that night.
On that day, martyr Atef rushed to the hospital to take a shift from one of his colleagues. Those who knew him sensed his fervor since the beginning of the aggression. He volunteered to protect his hometown, Nabha, with a group of young men during the war. They were on the lookout for MK aircraft and anticipating an attack. He did not even care about their espionage activity during that period, and he insisted on challenging it, so he went to the mosque and recited Dua Kumayl to everyone.
He did not panic but prepared himself to meet the Lord. His sister, Khadija Amhaz, tells Al-Ahed that a few days before July 31, 2006, he went to the hairdresser in his village and asked him to groom his beard suitable for those who wanted to meet the Lord.
Martyr Atef had the love for Imam Hussein in him. His fervor prompted him to carry his humble weapon at the hospital from the moment the “Israelis” set foot on the premises. After the military airdrop, Atef called his older brother reassuring him and informed him that he was in Dar Al-Hikma. He then joined the battle.
Martyr Atef confronted the “Israelis”. He clashed with them and fought them like a lion attacking its prey. He stood up and pointed his machine gun toward the enemy. Two bullets hit his head and chest, making him a martyr.
Shortly after dawn prayers, that is after 4 a.m., the night that the Zionists were hoping might change things for them ended. Operation Sharp and Smooth humiliated the “Israelis” – they were not able to take resistance fighters as prisoners nor did they find the kidnapped soldiers.