A disaster was averted Friday night when an armored military jeep was hit by an improvised explosive device on the Lebanese border. Photos obtained by Ynet show the extensive damaged caused to the jeep and how badly, had it not been armored, the soldiers sitting inside it could have been hit.
The photos show how the heavy protective armor on the jeep managed to absorb the impact of the shrapnel that hit the vehicle and punctured its tires.
IDF assessments are that there will be no further escalation following the incident, which ended with army artillery fire on Hezbollah outposts.
At the same time, the army estimates that Hezbollah used this attack to draw a red line of its own against Israeli strikes on Syrian weapons convoys bound for Lebanon. This unusual terror attack, the likes of which haven't been seen since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, was either revenge against Israel, or a sign of what's to come should more strikes occur.
The attack occurred two and a half weeks after Hezbollah first admitted that it was targeted by an IAF airstrike in the northern part of the Syria-Lebanese border, an admission that obligated the organization to retaliate, as it promised to do, "at a time of its choosing."
The IDF's Northern Command is still looking into the incident that took place near the "Erev Hadash" outpost on Mount Dov, but information on the happenings of the incident is becoming increasingly apparent.
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An initial investigation found that at around 5:30 pm on Saturday, a joint force securing the area of the Seventh Division's Battalion 82 and the paratroopers' Battalion 890 made its way along the border to the outpost with at least two armored vehicles.
The drive to the outpost was not part of a military operation, but rather an administrative assignment. However, due to the impending darkness and the area's thick vegetation which made for treacherous driving conditions, the troops were instructed to act according to operational procedures - which included wearing a helmet and a flak jacket.
An officer from the 890th Battalion, a combat soldier from the paratroopers and an adjutant from Battalion 82, on her way to a routine visit of one of the outposts, were inside the jeep that was hit.
The three were taken to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed as a precaution to rule out injuries caused by the shock wave from the blast. They were sent home in good condition after a few hours.
Army sources said that the adjutant joined the patrol in accordance with army procedures and after getting the area commanders' authorization. Area commanders are required to approve any visit of non-combatant soldiers to the outposts.
The army is investigating a suspicion that the explosive was set off with a remote control, but the assessment is that it was an explosive device designed to hit people, and not armed vehicles. An explosive device of the second sort could have led to much graver results.
Sources in the Northern Command noted that in the past year, Hezbollah has been consistently breaking the UN resolution that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War by "obsessively" observing IDF troops along the border, and taking pictures of the area. The army's assessment is that Hezbollah collected intelligence on troop movement in the area before planting the explosive device.