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Human rights report on Israel-Hezbollah war criticized in Lebanon
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18:58, August 30, 2007

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A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, which accuses Hezbollah of firing rockets indiscriminately at civilian areas in Israel during last summer's war, was sternly criticized in Lebanon, the Daily Star reported on Thursday.

Hussein Rahhal, head of Hezbollah's media unit, was quoted as saying that there was a "distortion of facts" in the report.

"We were targeting soldiers and military bases principally but Israel's main direct targets were civilians. Civilian casualties inflicted by us were indirect," he said.

According to statistics from the HRW, the war killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and more than 160 people in Israel including at least 39 civilians.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora also criticized the HRW's report.

"It is impermissible to put the killers and the killed on the same level," Seniora said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The Lebanese government also rejected recommendations in the HRW report that Hezbollah members be judged for war crimes.

"It is unacceptable because this has no legal basis and this organization should not adopt such a stand ... it should remain impartial and objective," said a government statement.

Israel launched a massive military offensive against Hezbollah on July 12, 2006, after Hezbollah seized two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a deadly cross-border raid. The war ended on August 14 under a UN-brokered ceasefire.

Source: Xinhua

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