Day 23 of war in Lebanon: Cleared for publication: An Israel
Defense Forces soldier, Sergeant Adi Cohen, 18, of Hadera, was killed Wednesday in a harsh battle in the village of Aita al-Shaab in the western region of southern Lebanon.
Another soldier was seriously injured and six troops were lightly wounded in two incidents. The rescue operation lasted for hours.
After three weeks of fighting, the IDF is expected to complete its deployment a "security zone", 5-6 kilometers (3.1-3.7 miles) inside the Lebanese territory. A Lebanese or multinational force is expected to later enter this zone.
concentrated in the village of Aita al-Shaab, near the community of Zarit on the western region, and battles continued there for the third day in a row.
On Wednesday, at around 6 p.m., the exchanges of fire between paratroopers and terrorists were resumed. During the battle, an IDF soldier was seriously wounded and another two troops were lightly wounded.
An hour later, an anti-tank missile was fired at a house where soldiers were hiding, killing one soldier and lightly injuring another four.
On Wednesday morning, two soldiers were lightly injured in the same area and were evacuated to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Three IDF soldiers were killed
in the same village on Tuesday in two incidents with Hizbullah
terrorists. IDF soldiers killed more than 30 terrorists in the different areas in southern Lebanon in one day of fighting.
IDF clearing territory (Photo: AP)
IDF forces have been operating for a week now along 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) between Metual and Rosh Hanikra. The IDF is organizing its forces and preparing on a zone 5-6 kilometers (3.1-3.7 miles) long. The aim of the operation is to distance Hizbullah from the border, "clear" it of terror elements and turn it into a leaping point forward should it be required.
IDF officials noted that posts will not be set up in the area and that only two activities will take place there: Destroying all of Hizbullah's posts and its military alignment, including bunkers and weapons, and dealing with the presence of Hizbullah members in the area.
The preparations on Thursday will be completed in two ways: An IDF forces will enter and exit as needed, while a regiment team will move in the area and will try to locate bunkers, weapons, Katyusha launchers, etc.
In the future, in accordance with Israel's demand, a Lebanese or multinational forces is expected to enter the area and neutralize Hizbullah and its terrorist activities, while controlling the area in a way that will form an international borderline in the traditional perception of two neighboring countries with a calm-creating arrangement.
In addition to the operations in the "security zone," the IDF continued to operate
inside Lebanon. Some 15 operations of elite unit have been conducted far away from the border since the onset of the fighting. About 10 terrorists were killed in an operation in Baalbek on Tuesday night, and five suspects were taken hostage.
IAF strikes 120 targets
On Wednesday, infantry, armored and engineer corps operated in southern Lebanon. The forces gained control of posts in villages on the eastern region. Simultaneously, the forces strengthened their presence in villages west of Metula and in the villages of Aita al-Shaab, Maroun al-Ras and Bint Jbeil.
During the fighting, IDF soldiers killed about 35 Hizbullah terrorists and injured others.
In the village of Bint Jbeil, the sources uncovered and destroyed a vehicle carrying a rocket launcher. Other weapons were found by the forces in the operation area, including 10 rifles found by a reserve force near the village of Shihin.
The Air Force resumed its operation, after two days in which the operation was minimized due to the deadly attack on the village of Qana. About 120 targets were hit in the strikes, including:
- Six launchers used to fire rockets at northern communities, including launchers that fired rockets at Afula and Haifa
- Fifteen attacks on gunmen
- A car identified as transporting weapons
- Thirty-five Hizbullah buildings, storerooms and headquarters.
- Bridges and routes leading to launching areas
- More than 50 launching areas, from where rockets were fired at Israel.
But in spite of the intensive activity, Hizbullah members continued to fire rockets at communities in northern Israel. More than 210 rockets
were fired at the north on Wednesday.
Dave Lalshouk, 52, a resident of Kibbutz Sa'ar near Nahariya, was killed
after being hit by a rocket while riding his bicycle in the kibbutz. Dozens of people were hurt in northern communities.
The fire continued also in the evening hours. Three rockets landed in Nahariya, lightly hurting three people, while six people suffered from shock.