Reporters on the job

Sleuthing for Bunkers: Correspondent Nick Blanford scored a scoop in finding Hizbullah bunkers in southern Lebanon, persisting over months in his bid to home in on a location. No other journalists, foreign or Lebanese, he says, have found and explored any such bunker since the end of Hizbullah's 34-day war with Israel in the summer of 2006.

Nick says that although it wasn't illegal to find and explore the bunker (see story), he wanted to avoid being spotted by anyone lest his presence raise suspicions and awkward questions. He and two journalist colleagues who accompanied him also did not want to face the possibility of having their cameras confiscated.

That meant keeping a sharp eye out for a wide variety of characters. "My two colleagues and I kept an eye open for shepherds, UNIFIL peacekeepers, Lebanese soldiers, or even Hizbullah men who may have been watching the valley where their old positions lay," Nick says.

"Happily, no one saw us – at least, no one based on the ground."

In fact, it was the factors in the air that kept Nick and his companions slightly on edge.

"We were acutely conscious of the Israeli reconnaissance drone flying over the valley the entire time we were there," he says. "I joked to my colleagues that we would probably be reading articles in the Israeli press in the coming days about Hizbullah fighters moving back into their old positions along the border."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor

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