JERUSALEM (May. 18)
Israeli clashes with the fundamentalist Hezbollah heated up this week in southern Lebanon.
On Sunday, for a third consecutive day, Israeli fighter planes raided Hezbollah targets southwest of the Bekaa Valley.
Sunday’s strikes hit areas where three Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded May 15 in clashes with Hezbollah gunmen.
One of the slain soldiers, Capt. Eran Shamir, was buried Sunday in the military cemetery of his hometown, Mazkeret Batya, located southeast of Tel Aviv.
The two other soldiers, Staff Sgt. Ze’ev Zomerfeld of Aseret and Staff Sgt. Ran Mezuman of Tiberias were laid to rest last Friday.
The three had been part of an elite paratroop unit operating north of the security zone, when they encountered Hezbollah fighters.
Two Hezbollah gunmen were believed to have been killed in the clash.
During the fighting, anti-aircraft missiles were fired at Israeli helicopters, hampering rescue efforts.
Maj. Gen. Amiram Levine, the head of the Israel Defense Force northern command, said Sunday that the rockets were fired by Lebanese army troops, not by Hezbollah.
Initial reports said that the fundamentalist fighters may have been using shoulder-fired missiles for the first time.
But Israeli military sources later said there was no confirmation that Hezbollah is using the missiles.