A deadly barrage of rockets that landed near kibbutz Kfar Giladi Sunday afternoon claimed the life of 12 reserve Israel Defense Forces soldiers, the army said.
Fifteen people were injured in the attack, including two seriously and three moderately. The injured remain hospitalized at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and the Ziv Medical Center in Safed.
Soldiers inspect cars hit in attack (Photo: Niv Calderon)
Dozens of reserve soldiers of the artillery unit congregated near the kibbutz in preparation to take part in military operations. Most soldiers were called up Saturday evening.
The soldiers congregated in an open field near the Tel Hai cemetery, 200 meters from the kibbutz's entrance.
The soldiers had arrived at the meeting point in trucks laden with ammunitions and equipment.
Around 12:20 pm a rocket barrage was fired from Lebanon and one rocket scored a direct hit in the meeting point.
Paramedics who took part in the evacuation efforts spoke of horrific scenes.
"Never saw anything like that'
A reserve military doctor who treated some of the injured said: "One of the soldiers I treated said he heard the explosion and ran in shock to check if his friends are ok. He found the bodies of two of his friends. He was shocked and suffered a nervous breakdown from the difficult sight. The first hours of shock victims are most critical and I hope he overcomes this."
Eli Peretz, was one of the first paramedics to arrive at the scene: "We…saw very difficult sights. A whole group was injured some very seriously. The lightly injured ran in all directions. We transferred the seriously injured by helicopter to hospitals in Haifa…I never saw a more difficult incident."
Dimitri Lipovsky, a reservist aged 30, said he and his comrades were standing under a tree when a siren was heard: "We had no place to hide. I saw Katyushas hitting cars and people shouting. Within four to five minutes paramedics arrived to rescue them."
Dimitri was lightly injured in the attack.