The nation of Lebanon observed a national day of mourning following the ‘Qana massacre’ on Sunday, in which 58 civilians, including 38 children, were killed by an Israeli airstrike.
Rescue workers on Monday continued to find more bodies buried in the rubble – after digging by hand all day Sunday to find the corpses of those killed.
Banks and public offices were closed Monday, while flags flew at half mast in memory of those killed in Sunday’s attack, the biggest single loss of life since Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon began almost three weeks ago.
Lebanese newspapers printed large pictures of dead children being retrieved from under the rubble in the town, some framed in black in a sign of mourning.
Arab and Islamic leaders have condemned the attack, as did the head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
In Beirut on Sunday, protesters smashed their way into the United Nations headquarters as thousands massed outside chanting "Death to Israel, Death to America".
Gunmen also stormed and looted the United Nations compound in Gaza City during a protest over the bombing. At least two people were wounded by Palestinian police who tried to put down the protest.
57 Lebanese civilians , including 37 children, killed in an Israeli army shelling in Qana, Lebanon
Lebanese security sources reported that the Israeli army shelled a three-story building in Qana town, in southern Lebanon, killing 57 civilians, including 37 children, who took shelter in the building and were sleeping there. The sources added that at least 100 civilians were at the shelled building. A mother and her children were killed in a separate shelling to a house in Al Nabatiyya town.
The Israeli army claimed that troops shelled a building used by Hezbollah fighters, but on the ground, all of the killed and injured residents were civilians, mostly children, women and elderly who gathered there to avoid the Israeli shelling to their houses.
The army also claimed that soldiers “warned the residents to leave the areas several days ago, but they didn’t”, Israeli army sources claimed.
The army held Hezbollah responsible for the civilians casualties in Qana after claiming that the building is used “as a base for launching rockets into Israel”.
Rescue teams started evacuating the bodies of the innocent civilians from under the rubble of the shelled building, torn bodies carried, child after child, civilian after another.
In 1996, 109 Lebanese civilians were killed in Qana after the Israeli air force shelled a building that belongs to the United Nations after taking it as a shelter from the Israeli shells. The 1996 military assault into Lebanon was called by Israel “"Operation Grapes of Wrath”
Around 800 Lebanese civilians had taken refuge there to escape the fighting, of whom 106 were killed and around 116 others injured. Four UNIFIL soldiers were also seriously injured; the UNIFIL is the United Nations International Force that was deployed in Lebanon after the Israeli withdrawal from areas in southern Lebanon.
In Beirut, thousands of residents protested against the Israeli attacks, especially the Qana attack, that claimed the lives of innocent civilians who took shelter in a Qana building. The protesters carried Lebanese flags and flags that belong to Hezbollah fighters.
The protesters expressed support to the resistance in Lebanon and their commitment to national unity among all Lebanese.
Also, thousands of protesters took to the street in several European and Arabic counties.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese government held an urgent session and decided that to reject a cease fire before negotiations, and demanded the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, not to come to Lebanon.
Moreover, Lebanese governmental sources reported that five more Lebanese civilians were killed by Israeli shells in Lebanon. Number of Lebanese killed since Israel launched its offensive against Lebanon eighteen days ago.
In Al Nabitiyya town, a wife and her four children were killed after the Israeli army shelled a house there on Sunday. The father, the only survivor, was out of the shelled house trying to find food for his hungry children.