Saturday, July 15, 2006

Summer Thunder Storm

Saturday July 15th 2006

Kiryat Shmona
Northern Israel / Lebanon Border

We finally wrapped up the Primetime shift and drove back to the hotel we are based at up here in Northern Israel at around 8:30 am. People often consider covering war means sitting in trenches covered in mud, and sometimes that is very true. But in the world of 24 hour cable news, it can also mean live shifts where for 8 - 10 hours you are the "go to" live team, on the hour, every hour, at the bottom, affiliates, sister networks the list continues.

Last night and tonight we have the Prime time shift, which with time zones means we take over coverage from midnight till 8 am, ( 5pm till 1am Eastern) and the first shot for the night is over. We could doing up to twenty shots tonight from the border city of Kiryat Shmona about six miles from the Lebanon Border.

This brings me back to the logic of where to stay whilst covering conflict, in our case we drive closer to the border to the most Northern town in Israel of Metulla. Now the logic is there is no logic, anywhere anytime in this region you are potentially in an area where Hezbollah katyusha rockets. The real worry now is not these Katyusha rockets which have a limited range, but new long range missiles that they have received from Iran, the Israeli Government is now warning its citizens that these new long range missiles are capable of hitting Tel Aviv and Patriot Missile batteries are being reactivated for the first time since the Gulf War.

The good thing about staying in Metulla can be reasoned out by saying since it is so close to the border it is harder to hit, as the Hezbollah would virtually have to be firing straight up in the air rather than at an angle and into deeper Israel. Of course this reasoning has no sound military backing but if we say it enough to each other it provides some comfort. Just as we all requested hotel rooms that faced South and not North towards Lebanon.

The title today "Summer Thunder Storm" comes from earlier tonight when we were all sitting around outside and looking to the mountains. It was like one of those hot summer storm days when you see the lightning on the horizon and moments later you hear the rolling thunder come down. Here the lightning was the intense flash of artillery fire and the sound of thunder was the boom of shells heading into Lebanon.

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