TEL AVIV (Apr. 10)
Two Israeli soldiers were killed by a teen-age suicide bomber who blew up her car when it drew abreast of their jeep at a road intersection in south Lebanon yesterday. Two other soldiers were wounded and a local civilian was killed by the blast.
The dead soldiers were identified as Lt. Yiftach Paschor, 21, of Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv and Cpl. Mendel Melamed, a 37-year-old reservist from Alfei Menashe. They were in a jeep at the Badr Al-Shouf crosspoint keeping watch over an Israel Defense Force convoy that was removing equipment from the Jezzine region, the northernmost part of south Lebanon still under IDF control.
The suicide bomber was identified as Sana Mohaydaleh, a 16-year-old Shiite from the Zaharani region of south Lebanon. Only recently she appeared on a Beirut television program to declare her desire to become a “martyr” and enter heaven by killing “the highest number possible of our enemies.” The Lebanese National Resistance Front claimed responsibility for Mohaydaleh’s suicide mission.
One of the wounded Israeli soldiers, Yoni Roth, 20, of Kibbutz Mishmar Hayarden, provided an eyewitness account of the bombing. He said the IDF convoy carrying dismantled equipment was passing through a roadblock at Badr Al-Shouf which separates the IDF zone from the Druze-controlled Shouf mountains.
He said a white Peugeot-404 car suddenly appeared, was allowed to pass without stopping through a Druze checkpoint, and attached itself to the tail of the IDF convoy.
He said the car was driven by a young girl in a red sweater who was the sole occupant. When it approached the guard jeep at the crossroad, Lt. Paschor signalled the driver to halt. She complied when the Peugeot was alongside the jeep. The officer apparently ordered the driver to get out of the car for identification.
According to Roth, “My driver said, ‘let’s see what she looks like when she gets out’ … and then, when she didn’t get out, he yelled ‘she’s a suicide’ and then the blast occurred.” IDF sources estimated that the car contained 20-30 kilograms of explosives.
They said there was no doubt that the driver detonated the explosives herself. She was not a dupe used unknowingly to drive a booby-trapped car. The car was reduced to a mass of twisted metal and no trace of the girl’s body remained.