One IDF Soldier Killed, at Least 17 Others Wounded in Lebanon Fighting

One Israel Defense Forces soldier, Staff Sergeant Alon Smoha, was killed yesterday and at least 17 others were wounded, 10 seriously, in fighting in South Lebanon. The IDF is continuing its assault on the eastern sector, but is waiting for instructions from the government on expanding its operations to the Litani River.

The soldier was killed yesterday morning when an anti-tank missile struck a Merkava tank in the eastern sector. The tank was hit near the town of Clea. Two other crew members were injured in the incident, one seriously and the other lightly. All the casualties were reservists.

In another incident, in the nearby town of Marjayoun, four soldiers were seriously wounded and three sustained light injuries from anti-tank fire on a tank convoy. The wounded were from the same armored brigade of the soldier killed yesterday morning.

In the village of Ainata in the central sector, more anti-tank missiles were directed at IDF troops and tanks. One tank crew member was seriously wounded and two other were lightly to moderately hurt. More anti-tank fire was directed at another tank that came to evacuate the wounded, seriously wounding one crew member.

Elsewhere, three soldiers were wounded, two seriously and one lightly, when anti-tank missiles were fired yesterday afternoon at armored personnel carriers of a reserve paratrooper brigade in the village of Markaba in the central sector. An armored reserve brigade operated yesterday in the eastern sector. IDF sources said the division was advancing according to plan and had encountered less Hezbollah resistance than in other sectors.

The IDF has already stabilized lines of control in the central and western sectors, waiting for approval for its next step. The forces are now sweeping the villages they had already passed through in a search for Hezbollah fighters, Katyusha launchers and arms.

In the western sector, in the village of Matmora, four Hezbollah fighters were killed. In Aita al-Shaab in the western sector a reserve force killed three Hezbollah fighters. In the village of Shama, a reserve infantry force of the 609th brigade killed one Hezbollah fighter.