A war museum, Hezbollah-style

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A young boy ducks under a barricade to have his photo taken next to an Israeli tank. A father puts his baby daughter’s hand on the trigger of a piece of artillery. A Shiite sheikh, in full religious dress, strolls past a map of “Occupied Palestine.” Two women silently sob at the site where former Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi, now dead, was said to have prayed.

It’s opening day at Hezbollah’s war museum in the southern Lebanese town of Mlita.

Museum construction isn’t finished yet — workers are still putting a cafeteria together and the gift shop lies empty — but Hezbollah officials opened it anyway to mark the 10-year anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

“The Israeli forces occupied those hills,” said museum tour guide Abu Ahmed, who said he was under orders not to give his full name. “The hurricane of the resistance attacked the eight Israeli teams and drove them into the abyss.”

In fact, the museum’s centerpiece is an exhibit called “The Abyss.” It’s a cratered area, surrounded by a ramp for visitors, covered with overturned Israeli tanks and leftover Israeli munitions.

Planning for the museum began in 2006. It now sits on a hilltop that served as a main staging ground for Hezbollah operations against Israel.

On opening day recently, the museum was jammed with supporters of the militant group. Many carried green and white Hezbollah flags. Others wore Hezbollah hats. Traffic was clogged a mile down the country road with cars of revelers....

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