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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2006, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
Voices from the conflict: Sunday
Ordinary people in Lebanon, Israel and the occupied territories are increasingly affected by the conflict.

Here are some of their stories.

GAL POLINOVSKY, HAIFA, ISRAEL
Haifa resident, Gal Polinovsky

It is a very difficult time. This morning I arrived at work at about 0830. Thirty minutes later we heard the first bomb. Security told us to go down to the bomb shelter, but I decided to go back home because the shelters were very crowded and suffocating.

There were alarms throughout the day. Bombs followed about a minute after each alarm. That happened about five or six times. Everything is closed in Haifa. My parents have a pharmacy they had to shut.

We were quite surprised that it happened in the morning. In the gulf war, missiles always struck at night.

Until this morning, we thought we were OK. We saw that rockets continued to strike other places in northern Israel and that Haifa wasn't struck, so we thought it was over here.

My sister is 21. She was alone at home when the bombs went off, she was very scared and started to cry. My husband came to be with her. There are many people suffering anxiety attacks.

People have left Haifa for Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. I am staying because I want to be close to my family. Also, the Tel Aviv residents have been alerted that missiles might strike there too.

There is no place safe in Israel at the moment I guess. It's very very scary.

DENISE NASSIF, BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON
Denise Nassif, US tourist with Lebanese family background

We're trying to leave Lebanon again tomorrow. We've found a flight out of Jordan so we'll try to get to Syria in the morning via the back roads and then escape to Jordan.

We tried to leave yesterday. The taxis were waiting for me, my husband and three children and we were just about to go. Then we heard the bombs. And we heard on the news they'd hit the road to the Syrian border that we were going to go on.

The Israelis hit a car. A whole family died in that car that could have been us.

This is my third time escaping war in Lebanon to Syria. Before I got married I used to live here. I escaped in 1982 and in 1990.

It was so nice here now. We actually had friends from the States visiting three weeks ago and they loved it. Their son was planning to move here.

Economically this is a disaster. Lebanon depends on tourism from Arab countries and expatriates.

What makes two soldiers worth the destruction of an entire country? Everyone thinks it's a pretence, that Israel had already planned on destroying the country. It was a trap.

COLETTE HAGE MOUSSA, BEIRUT, LEBANON

More than 100 Lebanese civilians have died
The remains of Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut

The situation is getting worse every day. We can hear bombs all the time. The whole city has been plunged into chaos.

We are too afraid to venture out into the streets and only sneak out to the nearest supermarket to buy food. Even that is problematic. There are delivery disruptions and there are big crowds of people queuing to buy food.

There are regular power cuts, the phones are not working most of the time and the worst is that we don't know what to expect.

My brother, who lives in the UK, managed to find his way into Syria from where he will fly back home. Hearing all about western embassies trying to evacuate their nationals makes me feel like we are forgotten.

We could go to Saudi Arabia, or to Syria, but the journey itself will be dangerous. So for the time being my family is staying to see what the next day will bring.

It's so sad that such a tiny and poor country is being hit so hard. Tourism was doing really well and everyone was pleased. We've seen the country getting itself back together and in a few hours, everything collapsed.

ALON, FROM HAIFA, ISRAEL, NOW IN TEL AVIV

Investigators study debris at train depot in Haifa, Israel
The attack on Haifa is the worst on Israel since the violence began

I was in Haifa when the first rocket landed on Thursday. There were no casualties and it was pretty much business as usual.

My girlfriend's parents are in an underground shelter in Haifa.

Most towns and cities in Israel have been prepared for even the worst military offences since the Six Day War in 1967. All buildings have secure rooms like shelters.

I am not surprised at all about how serious the situation is now, everyone knew Hezbollah had accumulated ammunition. We have been talking about the possibility that they might target population centres in Tel Aviv, but there is no widespread panic.

I am worried - nobody wants a long offensive, but I think it will go on like this for at least another two weeks.

I am worried - nobody wants a long offensive
My main concern is for the Lebanese people, I don't want to see any more civilians hurt.

My highest hope is that the Lebanese army will enforce the decisions of the Lebanese government and not take the Hezbollah hard line.

I will go back to Haifa in the next few weeks. I will take the necessary precautions, but I won't be afraid to return.


ZINA, BEIRUT, LEBANON

Lebanese people salvage belongings from bomb crater in Beirut
Israeli war planes have continued to attack Beirut

I haven't slept for more than 24 hours, the bombing kept me awake all night and I keep being sick because I'm so frightened.

I am up in the mountains, but the bombing is so loud it sounds like it's just outside my door.

My life has changed completely in the last few days. On Tuesday, I was out with my friends, laughing and joking, then my mum called on Wednesday morning to say she was going to pick me up and bring me home. I haven't left the house since then.

I am only 20, it is my first time living through anything like this and I am worried I may not make it to London or see some of my family again.

It was supposed to be Lebanon's golden summer
We are waiting for a call from the British Embassy to see when we will be evacuated to London where I grew up.

But Lebanon is my country and my home. It was supposed to be Lebanon's golden summer, lots of my friends were coming to stay. One hotel had 70 weddings cancelled in seven hours. Our economy will be ruined.

Now Hezbollah has bombed Haifa we have brought our mattresses into the corridors where it is safer because the windows won't shatter on us. But it will be another sleepless night.






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