Group Disputes Media Slant: Israelis Killed Lebanese Civilians With ‘Indiscriminate’ Strikes

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In its harshest condemnation of Israel since last year?s war, Human Rights Watch charged Thursday that most Lebanese civilian casualties came from ?indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes.?

The group said there was no basis to the Israeli claim that civilian casualties resulted from Hezbollah guerrillas using civilians as shields. Israel has said it attacked civilian areas because Hezbollah set up rocket launchers in villages and towns.

More than 1,000 Lebanese were killed in the conflict last summer, which began after Hezbollah staged a cross-border raid.

Israeli warplanes targeted Lebanese infrastructure and heavily damaged a Hezbollah stronghold. Hezbollah rockets killed 119 Israeli soldiers. Forty Israeli civilians were killed.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Regev, rejected the report. Hezbollah, he said, ?broke the first fundamental rule of war in that they deliberately exploited the civilian population of Lebanon as a human shield.?

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