“This was a heroic operation which exhibited courage, daring, planning and performance,” the official said. “The operation came full circle in a very short time, as intelligence abilities led forces to the terrorists, who then navigated and overcome the targets within an urban area.”
The IDF wished to issue a message of deterrence with the raid, indicating that long-range fire deep into Israeli territory would incur immediate consequences. The city of Tyre and its surroundings have lately become a chief source of the long-range rocket fire into Israel, which has hit Afula, Beit Shean and other Israeli cities in addition to Hadera. During the raid, IDF commandos succeeded in killing senior commanders in Hizbullah’s strategic rocket-launch network.
The senior officer related the details of Saturday’s events.
“The 13th Flotilla (Naval Commando Unit) set out during the night in an operation against those responsible for the firing of strategic weapons from a vehicle inside a built-up neighborhood. This was a daring and intricate operation carried out inside a developed area with courage and determination. Forces reached the building inside the city. They approached the five-storey, 16-flat building and went up to the second floor,” he said.
Scene of battle in Tyre (Photo: Reuters)
“The fighting area very crowded, inside of a small apartment building,” he continued. “Forces quietly entered the apartment, where three terrorists were hiding out with Kalashnikovs and grenades. When contact was made, the three Hizbullah men were hit by our forces, who suffered bullet and shrapnel wounds. The terrorists are linked to the launching of strategic rockets. The movements leading up to contact with the terrorists were carried out with utmost stealth.”
According to the official, when soldiers were exiting the building, gunbattles erupted against a number of Hizbullah cells outside the apartment. Israeli commandos killed ten of the operatives, the official said, adding that the Hizbullah casualties were central figures linked to the firing of long-range rockets at Israel. He noted that the Air Force covered the ground operations throughout the raid. By five in the morning, the forces were out of Lebanese territory.
Tyre, after operation (Photo: Reuters)
It was reported that the Lebanese army fired antiaircraft missiles at the Israel helicopters, which responded fire, hitting a Lebanese army tank and causing casualties. Lebanese sources reported a soldier and civilian were killed.
Ten soldiers were wounded during the operation, with two of them sustaining serious wounds although they were reported to be in stable condition. “The wounded received initial medical attention on the scene, then the other soldiers carried them on out stretchers, and through perimeter fighting managed to open a route out,” the official related. “One of the seriously wounded soldiers suffered a bullet wound to the midsection when he was in the house, and the second was wounded in the upper body outside the house.”
He added that the area of Tyre, to the northeast of the city, is a Hizbullah stronghold, where operatives are taking cover behind innocent civilians. “It was very right to send the crew on the mission,” he stressed.