TEL AVIV (Jun. 4)
An Israeli non-commissioned officer was killed Sunday in a gun battle with terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from southern Lebanon.
He was identified as Sgt. Maj. Hassin Muktaran, a Druze from Subbakh village.
Two other Israel Defense Force soldiers were slightly wounded and three terrorists were killed.
The clash, along the border fence less than a mile from the Israeli settlement of Misgav Am, was the fourth infiltration attempt in eight days to be foiled by the IDF and the first in which the IDF suffered a fatality.
Nine terrorists have been killed and two captured since the latest wave of border raids began on May 28.
The terrorists killed Sunday were identified as members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Syrian-based gang headed by Nayef Hawatmeh.
The terrorists killed or captured in the earlier attempts were also linked to splinter groups at odds with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat for being too “moderate.”
Followers of the extremist Shiite Moslem Hezbollah were identified as well.
Weapons and sabotage equipment found on the bodies indicated the infiltrators planned to massacre settlers in Misgav Am and commit acts of sabotage.
According to a military spokesman, Muktaran was leading a routine patrol along the border fence when he spotted a breach in the barbed wire and opened fire.
Two terrorists were killed instantly. A third opened fire on the patrol, killing Muktaran and wounding two other soldiers. The third terrorist was himself killed in the ensuing exchange of fire.