By Tom Perry, Reuters, BEIRUT (Reuters) – Ali Bajouk set off to deliver supplies to elderly relatives in the village of Aita al-Shaab thinking Israel had suspended its aerial bombardment of southern Lebanon.He was wrong. Bajouk now lies in a hospital bed in Beirut, his body, head and face wrapped in bandages to cover the burns caused by an air strike which scorched half his skin.

"We went up to Aita on the grounds there was a ceasefire," said Bajouk, 39, his mouth and eyes all that were visible beyond thick layers of bandages. "They are liars," he said.Israel had said on Sunday it would suspend air strikes on southern Lebanon for 48 hours to investigate an air strike on the village of Qana which killed 54 civilians, mainly children.There were fewer air strikes than normal on Monday and Tuesday, but warplanes still struck.

The Israeli military said it had reserved the right to strike at Hizbollah guerrillas firing rockets into Israel from their strongholds in south Lebanon. Israel also warned civilians to leave the area but residents say they are hindered by bomb damage to roads.Making the trip from the nearby village of Rmaish with friends, Bajouk was outside a shop when the missile hit.

There was a spotter plane above us, it saw us. A missile was launched at the shop. We jumped away but the fire leapt out at us," said the father of three.

"It didn’t knock us unconscious. We got up, turned the car keys and went back down to Rmaish," he said. A teenaged boy who had been with him lay on a nearby bed, also completely covered in bandages.

The Lebanese Red Cross evacuated Bajouk and his friends to hospital in Beirut, a drive of two hours but which needed eight because of the destruction wrought by air strikes on the roads.


Israel had also said it would allow 24 hours for aid workers to reach the worst hit areas of the south and for its residents to flee. But the United Nations said aid access had not improved.

"They did not give us clarification on when it was supposed to start or when it was supposed to end," U.N. spokesman Khaled Mansour said.

"As far as we are concerned, there was no ceasefire for 48 hours. There was aerial bombardment, there was exchange of fire," he said. "There was a reduction, but this did not lead to an increase of humanitarian supplies."

The Israeli military had advised against sending an aid convoy to Bajouk’s village of Rmaish on Tuesday, he added.

But the government was able to use the partial lull in violence to evacuate some Rmaish residents, including Bajouk’s wife and children.

Bajouk said he had been trying to deliver flour to his elderly relatives when the missile struck Aita al-Shaab, one of the frontlines of fighting between Hizbollah and Israel which have been at war for more than three weeks.

"We have an uncle, he’s disabled, unable to stand or walk, and his wife is also old. We were taking food and making bread for them," he said. "We don’t know what’s happened to them."

Afraid of being hit by warplanes on the pummeled roads of the south, some have stayed in their villages despite the war.

"The problem in Rmaish is that the people who want to leave can’t … there’s no fuel. They started using vans to bring out passengers. They charge them $100. There are people who do not have that amount," Bajouk said.