TEL AVIV (Oct. 29)
Three Israeli soldiers were killed and six wounded Tuesday in two separate incidents in southern Lebanon.
Both involved Islamic extremist groups pledged to wreck this week’s Middle East peace conference in Madrid.
Israel retaliated Tuesday evening with air strikes and artillery attacks.
The attacks on the soldiers followed a deadly assault Monday in the West Bank on a convoy of settlers. Two adults were killed and five children were injured in that attack.
Tuesday’s fatalities occurred shortly before noon, when a remote-control land mine blew up an Israel Defense Force vehicle near Arnabta, in the eastern sector of the southern Lebanon security zone. One soldier was wounded.
The military censor withheld the news for several hours, pending notification of next of kin.
Another incident occurred before dawn Tuesday when an IDF patrol clashed with armed terrorists trying to infiltrate Israel from north of the security zone. Five soldiers were wounded in the ensuing battle and chase.
Two terrorists were killed and one was wounded and captured, an IDF spokesman said.
The spokesman said the patrol was hit by two LAW missiles and a grenade. The wounded were evacuated to Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
The terrorists belonged to the Fatkhi Shakaki branch of Islamic Jihad, according to a notice published in Lebanon. It said their mission was to attack Moshav Zar’it, which abuts the Lebanon border.
Apparently, Islamic Jihad is operating in coordination with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, which claimed credit for the midday land mine explosion.
Attacking Israeli air force jets destroyed a Hezbollah headquarters building in the Nabatiya refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Tuesday evening.
Sources of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon reported that IDF gunners shelled Tibnot village in Lebanon, north of the security zone, during the night, and Kabrikha village was shelled Tuesday morning.