Powered by WebAds

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hunting for kidnapped soldiers in south Lebanon - 1986

What's it like to search for missing soldiers in South Lebanon? The Jerusalem Post has someone who knows:
On February 17, 1986, a South Lebanese Army convoy, escorted by IDF soldiers, departed on a patrol in the south Lebanon security zone.

Lying in wait were Hizbullah gunmen. Following an ambush, two Givati Brigade infantrymen, sergeants Yosef Fink and Rahamim Levi Alsheikh, were kidnapped.

I was a young soldier with the Nahal Brigade and had just finished basic training. We were a couple of weeks into advanced training in Nafah on the Golan Heights when my unit was sent into Lebanon to search for the kidnapped men.

Two Nahal battalions were charged with finding the two soldiers. We set up roadblocks and carried out house-to-house searches, patrols and covert night operations. I was 19 and never in my life have I felt such a responsibility and such pressure. The security of the nation rode on our shoulders and we felt a desperate need to find the soldiers alive.

I was sitting down inside an armored personnel carrier, so I had to be told when we crossed into Lebanon. Fear didn't really come into it, rather excitement and adrenalin because of the sense of responsibility and duty, and the significance of the job in hand.

We received a mixed response from the inhabitants of the villages we entered. On the road we treated everyone with suspicion, as Hizbullah and the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were operating. Naturally we were treated with disdain during house searches, but in general we had a good relationship with the Christian residents.

On Fridays in Marjayoun, there was a holiday feel. People would dress smartly and congregate in the center of town. The atmosphere was less tense and people were happy.

The roads were in poor condition after so many years of war but the landscape was still spectacular, the hills and green fields. I remember passing the Beaufort Castle, high in the hills, each day.
Read the whole thing.


Post a Comment

<< Home