TEL AVIV (Aug. 30)
An Israeli soldier was killed and two others lightly wounded Monday evening when their patrol was ambushed in the eastern sector of the southern Lebanon security zone by a group of gunmen belonging to the Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah movement.
The gunmen opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades from an ambush set near Beaufort Castle, a hilltop ruin from the days of the Crusaders.
Sgt. Ofer Haroush, 20, of Jerusalem, was killed in the ambush. He was buried Tuesday evening in the military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Other members of the patrol returned fire, killing three of the Hezbollah gunmen, according to a spokesman for the Israel Defense Force.
An ensuing artillery exchange between the IDF and Hezbollah forces north of the zone continued until late Monday night.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah is leading a guerrilla campaign aimed at dislodging Israeli troops from the 440-square-mile security zone, which Israel established in 1985 to protect its northern border from terrorist assaults.
Israel reportedly has more than 1,100 troops in the security zone, where it operates alongside some 2,500 members of the South Lebanon Army, Israel’s ally in the region.