TEL AVIV (Sep. 11)
Three Israel Defense Force paratroopers were slightly wounded Monday, in a clash with Lebanese fighters in the southern Lebanon security zone.
Israeli troops captured one of the Lebanese after an exchange of fire.
The Arab-owned Radio Monte Carlo said the gunmen belonged to the Lebanon Resistance Front and claimed it was the same group responsible for the fatal ambush of an IDF patrol in the Har Dov area of southern Lebanon on Saturday night.
IDF sources identified the group as the Lebanon Liberation Front, which it described as a minuscule pro-Syrian organization composed of Lebanese of various denominations, all dedicated Communists, with no Palestinian members.
They were described as highly motivated, well-trained individuals with good knowledge of the area where they operate.
The sources said a gang of four participated in the Har Dov ambush, in which Staff Sgt. Itai Shibek was fatally wounded. One of the fighters was killed and three apparently escaped.
George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the ambush, but IDF officers initially suspected the Shiite extremist Hezbollah.
According to Radio Monte Carlo, Monday’s incident occurred near Kilah village, in the central section of the security zone, where the fighters were placing explosives at a roadside.
The IDF paratroop unit opened fire and gave chase, in the course of which three soldiers were wounded and one gunman was captured.
Radio Monte Carlo claimed a “big battle” developed in which the Israelis used tank fire and flew helicopters.