Nine Israeli soldiers were wounded Tuesday when a member of the Hezbollah fundamentalist movement drove an explosive-laden car into their patrol in the southern Lebanon security zone.
Israel Radio reported that the suicide bomber drove into a convoy of vehicles, blowing himself up and wounding the soldiers.
A senior Israel Defense Force officer estimated that there were more than 400 pounds of explosive materials in the car bomb.
The wounded soldiers were flown by helicopter to Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, where seven of the soldiers were said to be lightly wounded, and the two others in moderate condition.
Hours before the attack, the IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, said Hezbollah activities in southern Lebanon have nearly doubled during the past year.
Appearing before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in Jerusalem, Shahak was quoted as saying that rarely a day goes by without a Hezbollah attack.
He said the primary target of these activities has been the South Lebanon Army, Israel’s ally in the region.
One day earlier, an Israeli soldier was wounded as a result of a roadside blast near his patrol in the eastern sector of the southern Lebanon security zone. The soldier was flown to Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, where his situation was described as moderate.
Immediately after the explosion, Israeli gunners opened fire on positions held by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, which claimed responsibility for the blast.
The IDF denied reports from Lebanon of mock Israeli air attacks over Hezbollah positions.
Israel Radio quoted an IDF source as saying that those issuing the report may have mistaken the helicopter flown in to take out the wounded soldier as having been part of an attack.