TEL AVIV (Apr. 15)
Israel Defense Force soldiers killed two Hezbollah guerrillas in a three-hour machine gun and rocket battle in the southern Lebanon security zone Tuesday morning.
One soldier was slightly wounded and was treated in the field.
The encounter, near Aishiyeh village, where Hezbollah has been active, was followed by IDF artillery and mortar attacks on the region. Israeli helicopter gunships searched a wider area for more guerrillas.
The clash was the second in the security zone since April 6, when guerrillas ambushed an IDF patrol killing two soldiers and wounding five.
A similar ambush this time was less successful. A patrol of the Golani Brigade was attacked by heavily armed guerrillas, who apparently had been waiting for them. The soldiers returned the fire and after a prolonged exchange charged the guerrilla position, killing both men.
They were identified as members of Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian Islamic fundamentalist militia that has been waging guerrilla warfare against the IDF and its allied South Lebanon Army in southern Lebanon.
The earlier ambush, which occurred near Huleh village less than two miles from the Israeli border, was staged by three Palestinian gunmen engaged in a joint operation with Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad. They were killed.