Two Israeli soldiers were killed and three wounded during two clashes with Hezbollah gunmen in southern Lebanon on Monday.
In the first incident, Sgt. Hadar Kehati, 19, of Rehovot, was killed when Hezbollah units fired mortar shells, katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles at an Israel Defense Force post in the eastern sector of the security zone.
Another Israeli soldier who was lightly wounded in the clash was treated at the site. According to Radio Free Lebanon, two Hezbollah gunmen were killed in the fighting.
House later, an Israeli army officer was killed and two soldiers lightly wounded in a clash with Hezbollah fighters in the western sector of the security zone. The officer’s name was not immediately released.
Israel Radio reported that the soldiers were on a routine patrol the Iran- backed Hezbollah gunmen opened up with small arms and anti-tank fire from close range. The wounded soldiers were treated at the site. Other members of the patrol pursued the attackers.
Monday’s casualties bring to 19 the number of Israeli soldiers reported to have died in fighting in southern Lebanon this year.
The IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, vowed Monday that Israel would continue its battle against Hezbollah.
“We will continue to take on every operation that seems to have a good chance of hurting Hezbollah, inside the security zone and outside it,” Barak said.
Responding to recent threats by Israel, the leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, vowed earlier this week to launch suicide attacks on Israeli targets around the world.