5 Soldiers Killed in Lebanon Over Weekend

Five Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed in fighting in southern Lebanon over the weekend. During that time IDF ground forces continued their advance and in some areas exceeded the borders of the security zone Israel pulled out from in May 2000.

Brigadier General Shuki Shahrur said Friday that the number of Hezbollah fighters killed in the fighting since 12 July had exceeded 400, and eight had been taken prisoner in recent days.

An officer and two soldiers of the 13th Golani Battalion were killed in the early hours of Friday morning near the village of Markabe, west of Metula, in the central front. A Golani force operated in the village and in the course of their retreat, anti-tank missiles were launched against the soldiers. The officer was the doctor of the force. The two soldiers are First Sergeant Daniel Shiran, 20, from Haifa, and Sergeant Omri Haim Elmakayes-Yaakobowitz, 20, from Ramle.

Yesterday morning, a soldier in the Combat Engineer Corps, Sergeant Or Shachar, 20, from Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, was killed. Shachar was killed when a mortar shell exploded near him at the village of Nabi al-Awad, in the central front. Initially the IDF force he was part of was hit with one mortar shell and one soldier was lightly injured. A second mortar shell seriously injured Shachar, who died soon after.

Shachar is the 45th IDF soldier killed in Lebanon since the start of the fighting.

The mortar position was later destroyed by the IDF.

Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 15:30 PM, a soldier was killed and four others were injured when an anti-tank missile hit a home in which they took up positions in the village of Aita al-Shaab, in the central front. The dead soldier is a reservist, the first reservist killed during the ground operation in Lebanon.

Four soldiers had already been killed in that village, also from an anti-tank missile attack against a home. The village is about a kilometer north of the border with Israel and is immediately across the area from which the IDF soldiers were abducted on 12 July.

Several other soldiers were injured during the weekend. On Friday morning two soldiers were injured by an anti-tank missile in the village of Taibe in the eastern front. One was seriously injured and the other lightly.

Yesterday a soldier was seriously injured when a Katyusha rocket slammed into an IDF base near the northern border in the western Galilee.

Also yesterday, a force of reservists clashed with a Hezbollah squad in the village of Rajamin and a number of guerillas were killed. A Katyusha rocket launcher was destroyed in Bint Jbail by a combined armor-infantry force, while in the village of Iron, in the central front, reservists uncovered a large depot of weapons.

During the past two days the air force attacked dozens of targets in Lebanon. Beirut was bombed on Friday morning and later in the evening, in spite warnings by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah to target Tel Aviv with rocket in response to Israel's attacks against the Lebanese capital.

The air force announced that in Beirut it had targetted command centers and arms depots of Hezbollah.