Middle East in Crisis
Canadian casualties of the 'open war'
Last Updated July 26, 2006
The "open war" in Lebanon and Israel has hit close to home. So far, nine Canadians — four of them children — have been killed in the cross-border conflict.
On July 16, 2006, an Israeli air raid hit Aitaroun, a Lebanese town bordering Israel, killing seven Canadians, including four children. Three were seriously wounded, one of whom later succumbed to his injuries. The blasts levelled a house nearby where the Canadians had been hiding for three days, crushing the victims, according to reports from Lebanon. Israel has acknowledged carrying out the attack, and has apologized to Ottawa.
Most of the victims were members of an extended family of Lebanese descent from Montreal. The el-Akhras family had been vacationing in the village of Aitaroun. After hearing the news, family and friends gathered at the el-Akhras family apartment to comfort one another. Members of Montreal's Lebanese community gathered to grieve near the pharmacy Ali el-Akhras ran. "I pray now that they are all in heaven," Meyssoun Akhras said of her family during a news conference on July 17. "And I ask the Canadian government to do something."
Tragedy struck again on July 25, when an Israeli missile hit a United Nations post in southern Lebanon, killing three UN observers, including one Canadian.
Here's what we know about the Canadians who lost their lives:
The father of four, 36, was seriously wounded after the blasts hit Lebanon. He was reported in critical condition in a Lebanese hospital, but just after noon on July 17, 2006, reporters were told he died. His wife, Amira el-Akhras, and their children, ages one, four, six and eight, were killed during the air raid.
Ali el-Akhras and his family had accompanied his uncle, also named Ali, and aunt Saada el-Akhras on their annual summer vacation to Lebanon. In Montreal, el-Akhras ran a pharmacy in Montreal's Snowdon district. He was a well-established and respected member of the community, his friend Ahmad Mustafa told CBC News.
The 23-year-old wife of Ali el-Akhras died along with their four children, ages one, four, six and eight, during the air raid. Her husband, Ali, later died of blast-related injuries.
The el-Akhras children: Saja, Zeinab, Ahmad and Salam
The four children of Ali el-Akhras and Amira el-Akhras — Saja, 8, Zeinab, 6, Ahmad, 4 and Salam, 1 — were killed when the border village of Aitaroun was struck.
The uncle of Ali el-Akhras, who bears the same name, was killed during the air raid. He came to Montreal from Lebanon 15 years ago, but visited Lebanon every year with his wife, Saada el-Akhras, who was seriously injured during the blasts.
The wife of Ali el-Akhras was one of three Canadians seriously injured during the air raid.
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Canada and Lebanon
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- Middle East
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- Israel and Lebanon have never signed a peace deal.
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- In 1978, Israel invaded Lebanon.
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- In May 2000, Israel pulled out of Lebanon.
- Montrealers killed in Lebanon remembered
- July 17, 2006
- Friends and family speak to reporters (Real Video runs 3:58)
- July 17, 2006
- Israeli air strike kills 7 Canadians in Lebanon
- July 16, 2006