TEL AVIV (Apr. 13)
Close cooperation between Moslem fundamentalist guerrilla factions was responsible for the ambush that killed two Israel Defense Force soldiers and wounded five in the southern Lebanon security zone April 6, Israeli authorities have determined.
Operational ties and exchanges of intelligence between the pro-Iranian Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad were in fact established for this action, which employed Palestinian gunmen, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported Monday.
Hezbollah has an extremely well-organized infrastructure in southern Lebanon and has assisted Islamic Jihad more than once in operations against Israeli targets, Israeli sources say.
The three guerrillas slain in the encounter originally were believed to be Lebanese Shiites associated with Islamic Jihad. They have since been identified as Palestinians recruited from widely separated refugee camps and from Iraq.
The three wore headbands of the kind worn by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard fighters and Lebanese Shiites. Small copies of the Koran were found in their pockets.
It is likely that Hezbollah gave the Islamic Jihad the intelligence necessary to set up the ambush near Huleh village, less than two miles from the Israeli border, Ha’aretz said.
But the vehicle used by the guerrillas indicated the ambush was not exclusively a Hezbollah operation. The Palestinians are believed to have been instigated by the Shkaki faction of Islamic Jihad.
The leader of the ambush was identified as Adal Kamel Zahar, 24, a resident of the Ein Hilweh refugee camp near Sidon, in southern Lebanon.
The others were Khaled Mohammed Hassan from the Wahidat refugee camp in Jordan and Nazzar Mahadur from the Iraqi city of Basra.