Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lebanese National News Agency: Israel Using Toxic Balloons

The "toxic" balloons

Jeha has already reported on this, but the story seems to be spinning out of a control, with even Bad Vilbel asking, "What the hell? And then Israelis wonder why there is so much fear and paranoia about the IDF and Israel's intentions in Lebanon." I'm quoting the article from Naharnet in full:
Eight people were hospitalized Saturday after inhaling toxic gases from poisonous balloons dropped by Israeli warplanes over Upper Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon, the National News Agency reported.

NNA said among those who were rushed to hospital suffering from nausea and fatigue were a Lebanese staff sergeant, a recruit and An Nahar reporter Rana Jouni.

The agency said Israeli warplanes dropped at least 10 poisonous balloons with Hebrew markings over Upper Nabatiyeh at about 9 am Saturday.

NNA said contacts have been made between the Lebanese army command and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, which has instructed an Italian peacekeeping unit to take samples from the balloons for examination. The agency said the results are likely to come out on Sunday.

NNA had earlier said that the Lebanese army's engineering unit headed to the area and destroyed the balloons by explosives.

The army, in a communiqué issued Friday, warned civilians against messing with the balloons and urged them to report finding them to the closest army unit.
I'm not sure what the origins of the balloons are - העיר [Ha'ir, "The City"] is the name of a local sort of newspaper with branches in different cities that features classifieds. I'm assuming this was some sort of promotion in the north and that the balloons simply drifted across the border. I have a hard time understanding how this story made the headlines, given the many questions it immediately raises.

How exactly did this reporter and the 7 other people get sick? Did they inhale the helium in the balloons? And how do warplanes drop balloons? Maybe these were more like beach balls? Well, I'm glad the Lebanese Army made sure to send its engineering units over to blow them up.

In conclusion, if you see any other objects with "Hebrew markings" on them, please stay away. And make sure the Jews don't come near the wells again.

April Fool's is more than 2 months away, guys!


Carmia said...

That's hilarious. Yes, the Ha'Ir newspaper is doing a promotion campaign right now (mainly I've seen a lot of TV ads for it lately).

Jeha said...

When I was a kid, there were stories about Israelis dropping explosive toys... I figured out later that it was unexploded ordinance such as mortars and grenades, which blew up with kids messed with them. There were also some mines.

We were stupid enough to mess with something like this, and lucky enough to survive. Some of the components burn nicely, though...

In any case, add some histerya, and rumours can grow.

Amos said...

Wow, Jeha, I'm glad you never got hurt playing with that stuff.

I'm actually somewhat worried I have to say that people will continue to believe that this was a poison gas attack of some sort. There are enough manipulators out there and, more importantly, no shortage of people who want to be manipulated.

Look how our local Hizbullah propagandist has covered it.