12 July 2006 – Start of the Second Lebanon War
The 2006 Lebanon War (or the Second Lebanon War) was a military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, a Shi’a Islamist militant group and political party in Lebanon.
Hezbollah was largely formed with the aid of the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s followers in the early 1980s in order to spread Islamic revolution. Hezbollah’s military strength has grown so significantly that its paramilitary wing is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army.
It is alleged that hundreds have been killed as a result of Hezbollah involvement in suicide and terror attacks.
On 12 July 2006 Hezbollah militants ambushed an Israeli military patrol on Israeli territory. During this ambush and subsequent rescue attempt, eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two captured. Hezbollah demanded the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel in exchange for the release of the two captured soldiers. Israel refused and launched a military campaign across Lebanon in response marking the start of the 2006 Lebanon War.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the incident as an “act of war” by Lebanon, and that “Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions” He threatened a “very painful and far-reaching response.”
Israel blamed the Lebanese government for the raid as it was carried out from Lebanese territory.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora denied any knowledge of the Hezbollah raid and stated that he did not condone it.
The Israel Defense Forces attacked targets within Lebanon consisting of bridges and roads in Lebanon. Runways of Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport were also destroyed.
Hezbollah’s long range rocket and missile stockpiles were targeted supposedly destroying many of them on the ground in the first days of the war. Hezbollah lost many of its longer-range rocket launchers within the first hours of the Israeli attack.
It wasn’t till after these initial attacks did Prime Minister Olmert officially demanded that the Israel Defense Forces avoid civilian casualties whenever possible, but Israel’s chief of staff Dan Halutz said, “if the soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.”
A retired Israeli Army Colonel explained that the rationale behind the attack was to create a rift between the Lebanese population and Hezbollah supporters by exacting a heavy price from the elite in Beirut. On 16 July 2006, the Israeli Cabinet released a communiqué explaining that, although Israel had engaged in military operations within Lebanon, its war was not against the Lebanese government. The communiqué stated: “Israel is not fighting Lebanon but the terrorist element there, led by Nasrallah and his cohorts, who have made Lebanon a hostage and created Syrian- and Iranian-sponsored terrorist enclaves of murder.”
It was reported during and after the conflict, the Hezbollah used civilians as human shields. Al-Jazeera reported at the time: “Foreign journalists based in Lebanon also reported that the Shia militia chose to fight from civilian areas and had on occasion prevented Lebanese civilians from fleeing conflict-hit areas of south Lebanon. Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s satellite channel, also showed footage of Hezbollah firing rockets from civilian areas and produced animated graphics showing how Hezbollah fired rockets at Israeli cities from inside villages in southern Lebanon.”
Images obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun show that “Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia. The images … show Hezbollah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-calibre weapons. Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, the militants carrying automatic assault rifles and ride in on trucks mounted with cannon.”
On 11 August 2006 the United Nations Security Council put forth a resolution which was accepted by Lebanese and Israeli governments. The resolution called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, for withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces from Lebanon.
Israel withdrew its forces but the Lebanese government and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon have stated that they will not disarm Hezbollah.
The 34 day war is believed to have killed up to 1,300 Lebanese people, mostly civilians and 165 Israelis, 44 of which were also civilians. The remains of the two captured soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were returned to Israel on 16 July 2008 as part of a prisoner exchange.
July 2006 – Other events
9 July 2006 – A scheduled domestic passenger flight from Moscow Domodedovo to Irkutsk overshot the runway, crashed into a concrete barrier and burst into flames killing 125 of the 203 people onboard. Initial reports deemed the crash was due to brake failure but later investigations concluded the accident was a result of pilot error.
10 July 2006 – Less than 30 hours after the crash of the Russian aircraft, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Flight 688 also crashed. The Fokker F27 had an engine fail during takeoff from Mutan and crashed into a field killing all 45 people onboard. Investigations revealed the engine failure was due to inadequate and improper maintenance; and the crash was a result of serious mistakes from the crew.
11 July 2006 – Thirty hours later, and 1200 kilometres south of Mutan, seven pressure cooker bombs exploded on seven trains in the Suburban Railway network in Mumbai. 209 people were killed and more than 700 people injured. The bombs were placed in the first-class compartments of the train and detonated within an eleven minute period during the after-work rush hour. Various terrorist groups along with Pakistan’s intelligence agency (Inter-Services Intelligence) were initially suspected of the bombings but it wasn’t until September 2015 that 12 members of the terrorist group, the Indian Mujahideen, were convicted. Five were sentenced to death and the remaining seven to life in prison.
17 July 2006 – An earthquake off the coast of Java on 17 July 2006 was experienced. It was of low intensity had very little effect directly on the island. The resulting tsunami, however, which was unusually strong relative to the earthquake, killed more than 600 people most around the resort town of Pangandaran. The 300 kilometre stretch of Javanese coast affected had escaped the Boxing Day Tsunami 18 months earlier.
July 2006 – Music, Movies, Books and TV
Women dominated the music charts in July 2006. British artist Lily Allen had a hit with her debut single Smile, the song making top spot in the UK. Colombian singer Shakira was big worldwide with Hips Don’t Lie. The multi-award winning track featured rapper Wyclef Jean and ended 2006 third on the year-end charts. Grammy Award winner Nelly Furtado also had a big hit in July 2006. Promiscuous made it to number one on most of the American charts and peaked at number 2 in Australia.
At the movies, the second of the Pirate of the Caribbean films, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was a monster blockbuster grossing more than $1 billion, the highest grossing film for 2006.
Janet Evanovich’s Twelve Sharp was the Bestseller for July 2006. It was the 12th novel in Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Told in the first person, the Stephanie Plum series stretches back to 1994 with One for the Money. The last instalment, Tricky-Twenty-Two was published last year with the next, Turbo Twenty-Three, due for release in November 2016.
July 1996 saw the end of British TV’s Top of the Pops. The music chart show debut in 1964 with the Rolling Stones (I Wanna Be Your Man), Dusty Springfield (I Only Want to Be with You), the Dave Clark Five (Glad All Over), the Hollies (Stay), the Swinging Blue Jeans (Hippy Hippy Shake) and the Beatles (I Want to Hold Your Hand).
The final TOTP show featured archived footage of the previous 42 years on air and concluded with their final countdown topped by Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie.
In Australia we saw the final airing of the Seven Network’s Wheel of Fortune. There was a failed attempt by the Nine Network to reformat the show as the Million Dollar Wheel of Fortune in 2008. It lasted five weeks.