Hezbollah Hands Out Cash for Lost Homes
Hezbollah started handing out stacks of crisp $100 bills Friday to residents who lost their homes to Israeli bombs -- $12,000 to each claimant at a school in south Beirut.
There were no lines and no waiting at the Shahed School in the Bourj al Barajneh neighborhood. Applicants who had signed up for the aid this week simply showed up at the school, showed identification and had only to sign a receipt. Representatives of Hezbollah, which is funded by oil-rich Iran, promptly handed residents piles of bills from a suitcase.
The direct aid was an embarrassment to the Lebanese government, which said it and United Nations agencies were undertaking assessments across the country. And even as the government remained absent from the reconstruction effort, there were other offers of private help besides Hezbollah’s direct payments.
In southern Lebanon, funerals were held Friday, the Muslim holy day, for victims of the war.
Qana, about six miles southeast of the port city of Tyre, held the most elaborate of several funerals in the south. A caravan of cars made its way from one service to the next.
During the war, bodies were taken to the Tyre morgue and later buried in a shallow mass grave when refrigerated trucks holding the corpses became too crowded. The bodies were exhumed Friday and taken to home villages for burial. The coffins had been marked with the names of the dead.
In the village of Srifa, 12 miles east of Tyre, more than 20 people were buried in a mass grave Friday.
In Qana, the dead were buried in individual graves alongside one another.
Funerals in northern Israeli towns had proceeded throughout the fighting, though they were sometimes disrupted by rocket fire or delayed beyond the 24-hour period specified for burial under Jewish law.