TEL AVIV (Jun. 21)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that a Hezbollah ambush on Monday that resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier did not represent an escalation of hostilities in southern Lebanon.
Rabin told reporters in Jerusalem Monday night that the Israeli unit that was ambushed had been on a relatively routine patrol which, on this occasion, “had proved painful.”
“Unfortunately, this time we suffered casualties. I would, however, say that it’s not out of the usual in terms of operations that have taken place until now,” Rabin said.
Rabin said there are about five terrorist attacks in southern Lebanon each week, but they generally receive little media coverage because there are no casualties involved.
A sergeant with the Israel Defense Force was killed and three other soldiers were wounded in the ambush, which was launched by members of the Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah movement in the eastern sector of the southern Lebanon security zone.
Sgt. Noam Simha, 21, from Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra, was laid to rest at his home near the Lebanon border on Tuesday.
In response to the attack, the IDF and forces with its allied South Lebanon Army launched heavy artillery barrages on suspected Hezbollah targets north of the security zone. Exchanges of fire continued throughout Monday evening.