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Al-Ahed Telegram

Events of the Liberation on the 23rd of May, 2000

Events of the Liberation on the 23rd of May, 2000
folder_openLiberation Dailies access_time14 years ago
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Local Editor

23/5/2000, the 3rd day of the liberation operations, Hasbayya and Arqoub returned to the homeland, thousands of waiting citizens flocked from every which direction and a cautious morning climate prevailed due to the continued Zionist attacks.

Meanwhile Zaghleh outpost still had a force of 8 "Israeli" troops under the command of an officer, supported by a Merkava tank. This force took 8 members of the collaborator militia as human shields to protect themselves in their withdrawal from the outpost. In the meantime, villagers were preparing themselves in the town of Maimes to start their liberation march on Hasbayya and the remainder of the villages.

The occupying forces sought to rescue the force still barricaded inside the Zaghleh outpost through a complex operation, during which they too became trapped in the southern end of the hill, and ran the risk of being swoop down on and captured prisoners by the resistance ... Zionist warplanes intervened heavily shelling the area surrounding the outpost.

Their raids targeted 2 bridges, the Maimes Valley Bridge, which connects the liberated villages of Hasbayya to the other towns still under occupation to the east, and another bridge in the vicinity linking Maimes to the Zimraya area.

A third bridge connecting the Maimes crossing with Hasbani through Zimraya was also destroyed in the raids, the forests surrounding Zaghleh hill were also targeted as well.
The Zionist artillery in Abbasiyeh joined in the bombing of the mentioned areas with more than 300 shells.

At 3:30 the Zionist force was finally able to make its withdrawal under a heavy blanket of shelling, via a dirt road linking the outpost with Hasbani, then continued from there to Shrayfeh hill.

Only one hour later, a march of citizens arriving in cars and on foot, headed towards Hasbayya, where they were greeted by city locals and villagers of Ain Qinya, Shouya, Shibaa, Kfar Shouba, Hebariyeh, Fardees, Aynjarfa, Kfar Hamam and Bughoz, as well as locals from Ibl al-Saqi, Dibbeen and Blaat.

Resistance fighters accompanied the marching citizens into Zaghleh outpost where the occupation forces had left behind a "T-54" tank, and "M 113" armored personnel carriers, military trucks and jeeps, five mortars in addition to medium and heavy weapons, maps and documents belonging to the enemy's army and its collaborators.

The resistance also moved into the outposts of Shouya, Ayn Qinya and Zimraya, where enemy soldiers were unable to retrieve during their debacle a large amounts of military equipment including machinery and munitions and a 130 mm cannon.

In Shibaa town, local citizens, who had remained during the occupation, started their liberation celebrations with the arrival of groups of citizens, this prompted 12 collaborators to give themselves over to the official bodies through the town mayor.

Liberation of the Hasbayya and Arqoub region coincided with the collaborators launch of their gradual unmanning of outposts, who later sought the protection of al-Bayyadah sheikhs. Numbering nearly 250, the collaborators gathered in a number of homes in the village to be accompanied later by a number of sheikhs as Lebanese Red Cross vehicles transported them to Maimes crossing.

The Lebanese army force stationed there took their names and transferred them in military trucks, before a second batch of collaborators in the villages of Kfar Shouba, Hebariyeh and Kfar Hamam surrendered to the Hasbayya Police station.

The Lebanese Army Command released a statement saying: "We call were on all Lahed militia members collaborating with the ‘Israeli' enemy, who have not surrendered yet, that it is their obligation to turn themselves in without delay, to the nearest Lebanese army military post at the following crossings: Hamra, Bait Yahoun, Kfar Tibneet, Kfar Falus, Baater and Zimraya, by attending to these centers in person or by going to the nearest internal security stations in this region."

Security sources also reported that more than half the number of Lahed collaborators, around 1250, turned themselves over to the Lebanese army and the resistance.

Villages of Rmeish, Dibble, Ayn Ebel and Qawzah joined the other liberated villages after the occupation was ousted. Spontaneous celebrations began in the towns' squares.

Concurrently in the western sector, the towns of Naqoura, Marwahin, Ramiyeh, Tayrharfa, Bayyadah, Shiheen, Jibbeen, Yareen and Alma Shaab were also joining the list of already liberated towns. The people of Naqoura town worked on removing the gates the occupation forces had installed.

On another track, at dawn, the occupation forces withdrew from the outposts of al-Bourj, Ali Taher, Tahra and the Dabsheh outpost overlooking Nabatiyeh region.
A Zionist force remained in the Shqeef (Beaufort) Castle outpost.

The enemy also vacated the Suwaida outpost, overlooking the town of Arabsaleem whose residents long suffered the harsh torments from this outpost. On vacating this post, the soldiers blew up its fortifications and bunkers under a dense cover of artillery shelling that targeted surrounding areas, in an attempt to facilitate the troops and collaborators withdrawal.

In the morning, waves of citizens rushed to the town's neighborhoods they hadn't seen for a long time because of the Zionist assaults, now they climbed into the outpost and raised the resistance flags on its bunkers and fortifications.

Both the residents and resistance fighters were surprised by a bombing that targeted them inside the outpost injuring citizen Abbas Ali Hanjul. This forced them to return to town. Zionist warplanes soon afterwards bombed the post and completely destroyed what was left of it.

Round midday, the collaborators vacated their post in Arnoun town and withdrew towards al-Khardali Bridge crossing the Litani River. A number of citizens attempted entry into the town through Kfar Tibneet side, but came under machine-gun fire from the occupation post in Shqeef (Beaufort).

That same afternoon the occupying forces used 155-mm and 175 mm artillery shells on posts evacuated earlier in the castle, on the two farms of Hamra and Mansoura and Yohmor Shqeef Plains, on Mrouj Kfar Tibneet, the abandoned Lebanese Army barracks in Nabatiyeh, the outskirts of Kfar Rumman, Habbush Nabatiyeh al-Faw'ah, al-Kfur Valley and the Zahrani River pathway.

In other words the occupation forces had vacated these posts and this was confirmed when the enemy withdrawal was reported later that night, from Reehan and Ayshiyeh barracks.

Enemy warplanes attacked in three raids the road leading to the towns of Reehan, Aramata, Kfar Houna and Srayra, using heavy missiles they severed the road with huge craters, only to hinder the return of the citizens to the area.

In the framework of its attacks on returning residents, enemy artillery shelled Maroun al-Rass town while warplanes attacked an armored vehicle captured by the resistance. Essam Mohammad Alawiyeh, Hani Zainelabideen Swaid, Qassem Mohammad Dhainy, Hussein Mohammad Hassoun and the child Hassaan Mohammad Suwaidan were injured in this bombardment.

At this point, an occupation army force was still posted inside Marjayoun barracks and several other posts in Reehan - Ayshiyeh area, while nearly 350 Lahed collaborators gathered in the Diocese of Marjayoun, about 500 others in the Qlaiah town Church, and round 120 in al-Khiyam mosque.

Many militia members positioned in Birkalab, Reehan, and Ayshiyeh, sent through intermediaries seeking to surrender to the Lebanese army.
The only remaining outposts were Blaat, Shrayfeh, Abbaad, additional to an enclave in Ayshiyeh- Reehan, another in Marjayoun-Qlaiah, and a third where homes interpenetrate with settlers' occupation units in Edayseh town, which had been vacated by the enemy half way through the 4th liberation day.

The greatest joy the people experienced was freeing the prisoners detained in Khiyam concentration camp. It was reported that the occupation and collaborators leadership had decided to transfer the captives with them to occupied Palestine, but rapid developments on the ground and the human invasion overwhelming the liberated villages, preempted any possibility of the enemy achieving that.

No sooner did the people reach al-Khiyam town, until they were joined in a march with the town's residents to the prison after an early morning defection by the collaborators responsible for guarding the prison camp, who left in a convoy of around forty civilian and armored vehicles. Firing into the air to disperse the crowd, the convoy headed to the border town of Majidiyeh, where one of the gates leads into occupied Palestine.

Nearly 500 marchers swarmed the prison camp, while the captives inside had no idea what was going on outside the walls around them.

Using whatever they could lay their hands on, the people smashed the prison cell doors using sticks and iron bars... the great meeting then took place, hands intertwined, voices cheering the victory and liberation...the liberated captives gathered in the Husseiniyat Hall of the Khiyam town to make sure none was missing ....they numbered 144.