Between 12 July and 14 August, 2006, a major military confrontation took place between Hizbullah and Israel, following the capture of two Israeli soldiers, and the killing of others, by Hizbullah in a raid across the border between Israel and Lebanon. Israel conducted attacks throughout Lebanon from land, sea and air, killing some 1,000 civilians. Hizbullah launched thousands of rockets on northern Israel, killing some 40 civilians.

The war caused large scale devastation, with war crimes committed by all parties, and civilians bearing the brunt of casualties. AI found Israeli forces had committed indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, including the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas. Israeli forces also appear to have carried out direct attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, seemingly to pursue a strategy intended to punish Lebanon for not turning against Hizbullah, as well as harming Hizbullah's military capability. Hizbullah used both indiscriminate rockets as well as direct attacks on civilian populations in towns and villages in northern Israel, which were seen as reprisals.

Close up satellite images of part of Beirut City "before" (June 19, 2006) and "after" (August 12, 2006) attacks.
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Note: Legal restrictions limited acquisition of high-resolution imagery within Israel. The Kyl-Bingaman Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 prohibits commercial US companies from selling high-resolution satellite imagery of locations in Israel at better than 2.5 meters resolution. At a resolution of 2.5 meters, damage from Hezbollah rockets in Northern Israel is likely impossible to detect. For more details, please visit AAAS' Lebanon Case Study Report.
  • During the July 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, AI delegates visited both Israel and Lebanon to research human rights violations by both sides. In order to support its on the ground research, AI worked with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights project to obtain satellite imagery to document destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and Northern Israel through a grant from the MacArthur Foundation.
  • The satellite image analysis revealed the destruction of some 250 multi-story buildings in Beirut containing at least 4,000 apartments.
  • AAAS acquired imagery from Beirut and the towns of Sayda and Bing Jbeil. In particular, the imagery of Beirut showed extensive damage following Israeli bombardments.

Pictures from the Ground

An Israeli attack Al Ghazieh, August 7, 2006.

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  The house of Maurice Maman in Kiryat Shmona, Israel, hit by a Hizbullah rocket during the conflict. He fled on 14 July, returning after the conflict to find his home destroyed. September 9, 2006.

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