rocket haifa 298.88.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hiyat Madi might end up the last civilian death of this war.
If so, he's a particularly poignant one. The 83-year old Madi was a refugee of the village Ikrit near the Lebanese border - the inhabitants of which, together with those of the nearby village Biram, were evicted from their homes by the IDF during the War of Independence in 1948 and were forbidden to return ever since.
Madi made his home instead within the Jewish village of Ye'ara and there he found his death in a Hizbullah attack on Sunday morning, standing in his kitchen 20 hours before the planned cease-fire.
His neighbors described Madi as "a peaceful, quiet man" who worked for many years in his home, ironing and mending IDF soldiers' uniforms. Most of his sons and daughters are married and living elsewhere, Madi lived in the simple home with his daughter. The kitchen was in a makeshift annex and fragments of the shell that fell outside killed him.
The people of Ye'ara, where 120 families live two kilometers from Lebanon, complained that the IDF had so far failed to take out a Hizbullah outpost, clearly visible on the ridge opposite the village, on the other side of the border.
"They've bombed the outpost," said Mordechai Shushan, whose house received a direct hit last week, "but the Hizbullah just hide in their underground bunkers and come out to fire at us - Katyushas and mortar shells."
Over 20 shells hit the village within a few minutes on Sunday morning. In addition to Madi, a number of civilians were wounded as was an officer on an elite unit using a nearby base. The soldiers' parking lot was hit, a number of cars and a bus were demolished and a disaster of the kind that happened in Kfar Giladi a week ago, when a reserve unit that was gathering in a parking lot near the border was hit by rockets and 12 reservists were killed, was narrowly averted.
Teams of electricity workers wearing helmets were trying to restore the power in the village, shortly after the bombardment had ended. Many houses were pockmarked by shell holes.
"Most of the houses have bomb shelters" said Shushan, "but there is no early-warning siren here; there's no point since Hizbullah bombards us from such a short distance. I don't understand why the IDF still hasn't gone in and cleaned that place up."