Israeli Soldier Killed in Lebanon is the Third to Die in Past Week

An Israel Defense Force soldier was killed Saturday, when his patrol was ambushed by unidentified gunmen in the Har Dov area of southern Lebanon, on the slopes of Mount Hermon.

One of the assailants was killed by return fire, and another was spotted fleeing from the scene. The IDF said there were signs that a third man may have escaped.

The victim, Sgt. Itai Shienek, 21, of Ramat Hashavim was buried there Sunday.

He was the third IDF fatality in a week. Staff Sgt. David Barzilai of Tel Aviv was killed and Sgt. Aharon Hannuka of Jerusalem was mortally wounded Sept. 2, when their patrol was ambushed by infiltrators from Jordan in the Beit She’an Valley.

The Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, headed by George Habash, claimed responsibility Sunday for the latest incident. But the IDF is dubious.

Chief of Staff Gen. Dan Shomron told reporters Sunday the identity of the gunmen was uncertain. He would not rule out Hezbollah, the fundamentalist Shiite Party of God, which has been responsible for recent Katyusha rocket firings into Israel.

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