VIDEO - The body of one of four sailors who went missing during Friday’s Hizbullah attack on an Israeli Navy ship operating off the Beirut shore was recovered by IDF forces, who are continuing the search for the other three.
The sailor killed in the attack has been identified as Sergeant Tal Amgar, 21, of Ashdod.
|Navy vessel ablaze (Video: Al-Manar)|
The sailors who remain missing are: Sergeant Yaniv Herschkowitz, 21, of Haifa; Corporal Shai Atias, 19, of Rishon Lezion; Master Sergeant Dov Sternshus, 37, of Carmiel.
The ship is currently being towed back to Israeli territorial waters.
A senior IDF officer said the ship was struck by an Iranian-made C802 missile, but he refused to say whether or not Iranian activists were behind the launching itself.
The army said two C802 missiles were fired at the vessel; the first missed the ship and struck an Egyptian boat some 60 kilometers (37 miles) off the Lebanon coast.
The stern of the ship was hit shortly after 8:30 p.m. Friday night and a conflagration ignited on the helicopter landing pad. The hit also damaged the ship’s internal operating systems.
Another Israel Navy ship off Lebanon coast (Photo: AP)
After the naval commanders managed to extinguish the blaze, they began a crew count, which revealed that four crewmembers were missing. Reinforcements were called to the scene and began searching for the sailors under heavy enemy fire.
An initial investigation revealed that the vessel was apparently struck by a missile, not a booby-trapped remote control drone as previously thought.
The damaged vessel was a Saar 5 navy gunship that was 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the Lebanese shore when it was hit while enforcing the sea blockade which was imposed on Lebanon Thursday.
Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah was the first to report of the attack on the Israeli ship.
Speaking defiantly in an audiotape aired on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television, Nasrallah addressed himself to Israelis, saying: "You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war."
"Soon you will find how stupid your new government is and how it is incapable of reading the situation. It has no experience. You said in your opinion polls that you believe me more than anyone else. Believe me now – you attacked every house in Lebanon and you will pay for that," he said.
"Look at the warship that has attacked Beirut, while it burns and sinks before your very eyes," Nasrallah said.
Despite the incident the Navy continued its sea blockade of Lebanon and carry out attacks on Hizbullah targets. During exchanges of fire with Hizbullah gunmen a missile was fired at an Israeli vessel, but missed and hit a civilian boat apparently belonging to Egyptian merchants, according to the IDF. The crewmembers were rescued, but major damage was done to the boat.