TEL AVIV (Feb. 23)
A Nepalese soldier serving with U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon was killed and another serious wounded Monday.
They were caught in an exchange of fire between Hezbollah guerrillas and South Lebanon Army gunners on the northern edge of the Israeli-controlled security zone.
U.N. officials complained that the Israeli-backed SLA had deliberately shelled the U.N. post. But a senior Israel Defense Force officer stressed that the UNIFIL post had been hit during an exchange of fire and it was not certain from which side the shell had come.
The IDF officer said he thought it possible the UNIFIL soldier had been deliberately killed by Hezbollah gunmen “to create a provocation.”
In an earlier incident Monday, Israeli soldiers foiled a terrorist attack in the western sector of the security zone, killing one terrorist and wounding a second, who managed to escape after being hit. There were no Israeli casualties.
The slain terrorist was carrying an M-16 assault rifle, a large amount of ammunition and hand grenades. Also found on his body was a picture of Sheik Abbas Musawi, the Hezbollah leader killed in an Israeli helicopter gunship attack one year ago.
Clashes between Hezbollah forces and Israeli and Israeli-allied SLA troops have heated up during the last week as Hezbollah marked the anniversary of Musawi’s assassination with increased activity.