Canadian victims of Israeli aggression
Grieving relatives of a Montreal family killed in an Israeli air strike in Lebanon say the Canadian government must hold Israel responsible for what they call a civilian "massacre.''
As many as nine members of the Al-Akhrass family, all Canadian citizens, were killed in a bombardment Sunday.
"We want justice,'' said Hassan El-Akras, whose father Ali was killed in the village of Aitraroun, 50 kilometres south of Beirut near the Israeli border.* * *
Foreign Affairs informed the family that Hassan's cousin, 36-year-old Ali Al-Akhrass, died in hospital Monday. Family members had not confirmed his death with other relatives in Lebanon and were reluctant to believe the news.
Ali's wife Amira, 23, and their children, Salam 11 months, Saja, eight, Zeinab, six, and Ahmad, four, were killed in the blast Sunday.
"I lost my brother, I lost my sister, my nephew, the family of my nephew, my aunt, my uncle. Oh God,'' said Hussain El-Akras, whose brother was one of the victims.
"I'm frustrated, I'm angry. I can't sleep. I can't eat.''
Relatives say the families had returned to their ancestral home for a summer vacation.
They were forced to take refuge in the basement when an Israeli air raid hit the city. According to reports, the house collapsed after a bomb went off nearby.
"They're innocent,'' said Maysoun Al-Akhrass, sister of Ali Al-Akhrass. "They're Canadians like you who are dead.''
The deaths sparked anger against Israel, which is blamed by surviving family for targeting civilians.
"Everybody blames Hezbollah,'' said Maysoun Al-Akhrass. "Hezbollah is our protector."
"It's they who try to protect my family.''
Al-Akhrass said she spoke to her brother last week after the air raids had begun.
"They couldn't eat, they couldn't drink, they couldn't move," she said.
"I can still hear my brother... completely terrified to see his four children in front of him, his wife, his parents, his uncle and to hear the noise of bombs."
Hassan El-Akras said he wants Ottawa to denounce the escalation by Israel and to better protect Canadians trapped in Lebanon.
El-Akras said he wants to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask for an inquiry into the deaths of his family members.
"We want to bring these criminals to justice," he said.
"Israel came to our village and bombed our village," said El-Akras, calling it a `massacre.' "They bombard innocent people and they kill them."
Footage of the home where the family was buried alive and scenes of an injured Lebanese Canadian woman and a Lebanese man pleading with the world for just six hours to escape and save his children's lives. God only knows if they survived.