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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bloody day for reservists - 15 killed, 25 or more wounded

Fifteen IDF reservists were killed and twenty-five were wounded on the bloodiest day of the war in Lebanon thus far.

Only two dead soldiers' names have been released thus far. Cap. Gilad Shtukelman, 26, of Timrat in the Jezreel Valley and Igor Kubelik, 26, of Upper Nazareth were killed when an anti-tank missile hit their tank during a gun battle in the village of Ayta al-Shaab in the western sector of southern Lebanon. Two other reservists were killed in the battle. All four belonged to the 847th 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 had hit the tank, probably from close range. The fire that erupted in the tank led officials to believe that the tanks' fire extinguisher system had failed to function.

Nine reserve infantry soldiers from an elite unit were killed and eleven were wounded (three seriously, four moderately and four lightly) on Wednesday afternoon when an anti-tank missile was fired at the house they were stationed in during clashes with Hezbullah in the village of Dbil in the western sector of south Lebanon. The IDF plans to investigate whether it was justified to have so many soldiers in the same house.

Another soldier was killed in a mortar attack in Kliya south of Marjayoun in the eastern sector of southern Lebanon (HaAretz says that this took place in Marjayoun, which is a Christian town in southern Lebanon). This is an area in which fighting had not taken place until yesterday. The IDF said the operation in the eastern sector is not part of the plans made Wednesday to expand the ground offensive, but merely a tactical maneuver.

On Wednesday morning, one soldier was killed, two were seriously wounded and two others were lightly wounded when an IDF tank crew accidentally exchanged fire with an IDF infantry reserve force. (HaAretz says ten wounded - one seriously, one moderately and eight lightly). The friendly fire incident took place in the village of Atayba. Shooting was suspended for a short time afterwards.

The Jerusalem Post says that thirty-seven soldiers were wounded. YNet says thirty-four, seven of them seriously wounded.

A total of about 40 Hezbullah guerillas were killed yesterday.

The army has not yet launched the operation that was approved by the cabinet yesterday, to occupy all of the area south of the Litani River.


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