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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Busy afternoon in Galilee and southern Lebanon

As I noted earlier today, two IDF soldiers were killed and nine were wounded, two of them moderately and the rest lightly, in battles just across the Lebanese border today, mainly in the area of Moshav Avivim. The IDF is seeking to remove Hezbullah posts along the border between Israel and Lebanon.

The troops, from an elite unit, had entered Lebanon overnight Tuesday to search for Katyusha rocket launchers in the area. Towards morning, as the force began to leave the area, it was confronted by Hezbullah guerillas along the border, and a gunfight ensued.

St.-Sgt. Yonatan Hadasi, 21, from Kibbutz Merhavia was identified as one of the soldiers killed in the fighting.

A tank, which was sent in to support the troops, sustained a mortar hit. One of the soldiers on the tank was seriously wounded and three of his comrades were lightly wounded.

One Hezbullah terrorist was killed in the fighting.

Earlier this morning, IAF fighter jets targeted the Christian Quarter in central Beirut for the first time, firing missiles at two trucks. The IDF also struck five weapons warehouses in southern Lebanon, as well as communications infrastructure and several Katyusha launch sites. A bridge connecting the cities of Tyre and Sidon was also hit.

The Jerusalem Post reports that at daybreak today an undisclosed number of IDF troops were operating just across the border, looking for tunnels and weapons, the military said, in what appeared to be a small-scale, routine operation.

IDF officials said that for several days, small numbers of soldiers have been crossing in and out of south Lebanon, staying close to the border, looking for Hezbullah installations and weapons. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the operation was still in progress, would not give the exact number of troops involved or their location.


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