JERUSALEM (Jun. 9)
Funeral services were held today for two Israeli soldiers killed in Beirut yesterday when a booby-trapped car exploded near their patrol. Two other soldiers, slightly injured by the blast, were hospitalized in Haifa. Five Lebanese passers-by also were hurt.
The dead soldiers were identified as Sgt. Moshe Edelstein, 31, of Kibbutz Ramat David and Yosef Ben-Or, 33, of Kibbutz Givat Haim. Israeli authorities did not immediately confirm the casualties, first reported by Beirut radio yesterday morning. Later however, they gave details of the incident.
According to a military spokesman it occurred at about 10 a.m. local time as two Israeli armored personnel carriers were passing through the Galerie Semaan, a busy intersection between east and west Beirut which has been the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent weeks. The first APC passed safely. The second was rocked by the explosion of a car less than 10 yards behind it. The car was identified as a Mercedes containing 100-200 kilograms of high explosives. Nearby buildings were heavily damaged.
The Israeli army beefed up its security arrangements immediately after the explosion. Israeli soldiers set up road blocks on the road leading to local headquarters in the Yarze section of Beirut, something they have rarely done in that part of the city. The perpetrators were not caught.
A military spokesman explained that terrorists frequently shoot at Israeli patrols in the Galerie Semaan, which takes its name from a large furniture store, because they can easily escape into west Beirut policed by the multi-national force where Israeli forces cannot pursue them.
141 KILLED SINCE SEPT. 1
Yesterday’s fatalities brought to 141 the number of Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon since last September I when the Palestine Liberation Organization was evacuated from west Beirut under a safe conduct guarantee. Another 255 Israeli soldiers were wounded in that period. Israeli casualties in Lebanon last month alone amounted to eight dead and more than 130 wounded in 60 separate attacks, four of them in the vicinity of the Galerie Semaan.
A military spokesman reported that several shots were fired today at an Israel army road block south of the Zaharani river but no casualties were reported. There have been four similar attacks from passing cars since the beginning of the week, indicating cooperation between the local population and the terrorists.