TEL AVIV (Jun. 16)
Terrorist rocket fire during the night and early this morning caused some damage but no casualties in Israeli villages near the Lebanese border. Israeli artillery returned the fire. A military spokesman reported damage to power lines and some buildings in Metullah, Israel’s northernmost settlement which was the target of Katyusha rockets at about midnight. An Israeli border patrol was attacked near Kfar Yuval after midnight and Katyusha rockets were fired at Kfar Giladi and Metullah just before dawn causing slight damage which was promptly repaired.
Yesterday’s terrorist attack on Kfar Yuval claimed its third Israeli victim this morning when Simha Mordechai, 22, died in Safad hospital of wounds inflicted by the same hand grenade that killed her husband Yaacov. Her seven-month-old son, Assaf was still on the serious list after undergoing surgery to remove grenade splinters from his head and legs. Her brother, Nehemia Yossef-Chai, a newly enlisted soldier home on his first leave, was also killed by the four terrorists who invaded the Mordechai home early yesterday morning. All three members of the family will be buried with full military honors at the tiny cemetery in Kfar Yuval.
Yesterday’s tragic events were the first flare-up of violence along the Lebanese border for more than a month. Israeli Air Force jets retaliated with heavy strikes at terrorist strongholds in southern Lebanon, concentrating on Shuba village where terrorists are known to assemble for incursions into Israel. Despite the air attacks, Katyusha rockets were fired into Nahariya yesterday evening, wounding two civilians.
Yaacov Mordechai, who died in the defense of his home in Kfar Yuval will be decorated posthumously for bravery. A veteran soldier in Israel’s famed Golani Brigade, he was born in Cochin India and was brought to Israel as a child of three. He married after his demobilization from the army in which he held the rank of 1st Sgt. Mordechai had participated in numerous skirmishes with terrorists and was known by his follow soldiers as “the king of Lebanon” because of his intimate knowledge of the southern Lebanese terrain. He was on his way to work yesterday when his house on the outskirts of Kfar Yuval was invaded by terrorists. He joined an army assault party and killed two of the terrorists with machinegun fire. But the third terrorist hurled a grenade that took his life and inflicted fatal wounds on his wife and serious injuries on his infant son.
Simha Mordechai was reported out of danger at Safad Hospital last night. But she suffered a hemorrhage during the night and succumbed this morning. She was unaware that her husband had been killed.