Three IDF soldiers killed in heavy clashes in south Lebanon
IDF warns south Lebanon residents to move indoors; 14 Hezbollah fighters killed; 7 soldiers hurt in clashes.
Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and four others wounded in fierce fighting with Hezbollah militants Monday in southern Lebanon.
Two soldiers were killed Monday afternoon when they were hit by an anti-tank missile in fighting in the southern Lebanon village of Bint Jbail.
One of them was identified as Major Yotam Lotan, 33, of Kibbutz Beit Hashita.
Another soldier was killed Monday morning in the village. He was later named as Staff Sergeant Malko Mosha Ambao, 22, of Lod.
Ambao was part of a Paratroopers Brigades force that engaged in gunbattles with Hezbollah. Three of his comrades sustained light wounds.
Later Monday, the IDF warned residents of south Lebanon to remain indoors after 10 P.M. (1900 GMT) and said anyone moving after that would be at risk, a military source said.
"Anyone who does travel is taking a high risk. There is no end period," the source said. "This will allow us to track anyone potentially trying to launch rockets."
The source said the restriction on movement applied anywhere south of the Litani river, which is roughly 20 km from Israel's northern border. He did not specify how the warning had been delivered.
Five dead in IAF strike in Houla
IAF strikes destroyed several houses in the south Lebanese border village of Houla on Monday, killing five people and wounding around 20, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon said.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora had claimed that 40 people were killed in what he said was a "massacre" in the village, but retracted his remarks after dozens of people were found in a shelter underneath a demolished building.
"They thought that the whole building smashed on the heads of about 40 people... thank God they have been saved," Siniora told reporters.
The Lebanese sources said aircraft first destroyed a house where 17 people were hiding in the village. Other strikes a short time later hit two nearby houses where about 30 other people were staying.
"An hour ago, a horrific massacre took place in Houla village as a result of the intentional Israeli bombardment that resulted in more than 40 martyrs," Siniora told an Arab foreign ministers meeting in Beirut.
A resident of the village told Al-Jazeera television that houses in the center of the village had been bombed. He said that shepherds lived in the houses, and that shepherds and members of their families had been killed.
"They're bombing everything that moves," the villager said of Israeli aircraft flying over the village. Yesterday, they even bombed a donkey that entered the area."
Security sources said rescue workers were unable to reach the scene immediately because of continued Israeli bombardment in the area. The Red Cross later appealed for bulldozers to clear roads so they could reach the village.
Earlier in the day, Hezbollah fighters had attacked IDF troops near the village, wounding five soldiers.
Also Monday, an IAF strike hit a crowded area in Beirut's southern suburb, destroying a residential building. One person was killed and at least 20 wounded, security sources said.
They said IAF missiles hit the Shiyyah neighbourhood that has been spared in the bombardment so far.
One hospital received one dead and two wounded while another hospital received 20 wounded as rescue workers began looking for possible casualties under the rubble, witnesses said.
Commandos strike near TyreMeanwhile, IDF commandos launched a raid near Lebanon's Mediterranean coast Monday, fighting Hezbollah in close combat in a bid to destroy its rocket launchers.
About 30 commandos landed by helicopter on a southern hilltop south of Tyre, overlooking Ras al-Biyada, a Lebanese security officials said. They were mired in fierce fighting with Hezbollah, and there was no word on casualties, an official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The town about five kilometers north of the Israel-Lebanon border overlooks Tyre on the Mediterranean. Commandos landed north of the area and raided an apartment. At least five Lebanese - including a soldier at a nearby checkpoint - were killed in the raid, officials said. The IDF reported eight soldiers wounded, two seriously.
A total of 14 Hezbollah guerillas were killed Monday. Two guerillas were killed in the battle in which the soldier died, and two others were killed in the same area by IDF infantry.
Also Monday, four Hezbollah guerillas were killed when IDF infantry troops from the Nahal Brigade encountered a Hezbollah cell in the village of Houla.
A company commander and two soldiers were moderately wounded in the clash.
Another six Hezbollah operatives were killed in other clashes with IDF troops Monday morning, including four members of an anti-tank cell.
IAF aircraft struck more than 150 targets in Lebanon overnight, Israel Radio reported early Monday, as Hezbollah battled IDF troops on several fronts.
Lebanese sources said the air strikes killed 10 civilians. The targets included bridges, roads, bunkers, rocket launchers and launch sites, the radio said.
Seven members of the same family were killed in the southern Lebanese village of Ghazzaniyeh when Israeli jets struck their house Monday morning. Two civilians were killed and four seriously wounded in a similar strike in Kfar Tibneet village, also in the south.
IAF jets also struck a southern suburb of Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley, both Hezbollah strongholds. One civilian died in the Bekaa strikes.
IAF strikes Hezbollah regionEarly Monday, Israeli warplanes targeted a northeastern Lebanese region that is a symbol of Hezbollah power, witnesses and the group said. At least four explosions were heard around the Bekaa city of Baalbek, 100 kilometers north of Israel's border, witnesses said. There was no immediate word on casualties.
Warplanes struck roads about 20 kilometers south of Baalbek, and in the Rashaya region farther south on the corridor linking southern regions with the Bekaa in the country's east, the witnesses said.
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