Entire country weeping: Fifteen reserve soldiers were killed on Wednesday in four different incidents across south Lebanon. The reservists' families have been notified of their death. In total, thirty-four soldiers were injured, seven of them sustaining serious wounds.
The names of the casualties were cleared for publication Thursday:
- Lieutenant Gilad Stukelman, 26, of Timrat
- Captain Yoni (Leon) Shmoukher, 30, of Beit Nahamia
- Sergeant First Class Igor Koblik, 26, of Nazareth IIlit
- Sergeant First Class David Shmidov, 25, of Jerusalem
- Sergeant First Class Noam Goldman, 27, of Tel Aviv
- Staff Sergeant Nir Cohen, 22, of Maccabim Reut
- Staff Sergeant Benny (Binyamin) Sela, 24, of Kornit
- Major Natan Yahav, 36, of Kiryat Ono
- First Sergeant Asher Reuven Novik, 36, of Kanaf
- Staff Sergeant Adi Salim,22 of Beit Hashmonai
- Sergeant First Class Elad Dan, 25, of Kibbutz Ayalot
- Sergeant First Class Gilad Zusman, 26, of Eli
- Sergeant First Class Idan Kobi, 26, of Eilat
- Sergeant First Class Naor Kalan
- Sergeant First Class Nimrod Segev, 28, of Ramat Gan
On 8 a.m. a reservist was killed by friendly fire in the eastern sector. Three hours later, an antitank missile was fired at an IDF tank, killing the four crewmen inside. The most difficult incident took place at about noon, when a missile that was fired at a building soldiers were staying in caused the building to collapse, claiming the lives of nine reservists.
In the evening, a reservist was killed by a mortar shell.
Throughout the day, helicopters have evacuated the wounded to hospitals across Israel's north: Rambam in Haifa, Ziv in Safed and the Nahariya hospital.
8 a.m. – Reservist killed by friendly fire
The deadly day began when a reserve soldier was killed Wednesday morning, two of his comrades were seriously injured and another five troops sustained light injuries in a friendly fire incident near the village of al-Taibeh in the eastern sector of south Lebanon.
Tragic day for army (Photo: AP)
Nahal Brigade forces entered the eastern sector Tuesday night, along with the 52 Armored Battalion, and moved westward in the direction of the town of Qantara. At the same time, a reserve Paratrooper force was conducting an ambush in the area. As a result of what appears to be a mistaken identification, the Nahal force came to believe that the reserve units were Hizbullah gunmen, and consequently a tank was ordered to fire a missile at their direction, hitting the reservists.
An initial IDF inquiry indicated that the mistake was the result of a failure in coordinating the forces' moves in the sector. However, army officials said that it was still early to draw final conclusions, and that it was possible that fire was also opened at the force from a different direction.
The casualties are members of the 226 Paratrooper Brigade, whose men were hurt in the Katyusha attack on Kfar Giladi on Sunday.
11 a.m. – Tank destroyed by missile
Four soldiers were killed before noon Wednesday after an antitank missile fired by Hizbullah gunmen hit and destroyed an IDF tank in the village of Aita al-Shaab. The soldiers' families have been notified of their death.
The tank that was struck belonged to the 847 reserve brigade, which has been operating in the sector under the command of the Carmeli reserve brigade. IDF sources reported that immediately after the attack the tank caught fire and soldiers were unable to approach it.
IDF sources assessed that a Kornet-type missile hit the tank, probably from close range. The fire that had erupted in the tank led officials to believe that the tanks' fire extinguisher system had failed to function.
Injured evacuated by choppers (Photo: AP)
"Hizbullah's gunmen are using modern missiles. Unfortunately, in this case, the missile hit the tank and caused the death of the four crewmen," an official explained.
1:30 p.m. – Soldiers trapped underneath building
Nine elite IDF unit soldiers were killed, seven troops have been seriously injured, and 10 sustained light to moderate wounds after a building they were staying in collapsed as a result of a missile strike in the Lebanese village of Dibel.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Hizbullah gunmen fired several missiles at a structure in which the soldiers were staying. One missile hit the building, causing an arms cache to explode. Several soldiers were hurt as a result. A short while later, the structure partially collapsed, and a few other troops were hurt as well.
The forces on the ground reported of difficulties in rescuing the soldiers that have been buried underneat5h the rubble. Home Front Command units stationed in northern Israel have also been placed on high alert in case they need to enter Lebanon and assist with the rescue efforts.
8 p.m. – deadly mortar shell in eastern sector
In the evening hours, a reserve soldier was killed by a mortar shell in the village of Kalia near Marjayoun in the eastern sector. Two other troops were moderately injured.