Israel foils attack on navy; fighting in Lebanon heats up

JERUSALEM, May 19 (JTA) — As Israeli clashes with the fundamentalist Hezbollah heated up this week in southern Lebanon, Israeli forces thwarted an attempted attack on a navy patrol. According to news reports, an Islamic militant was killed Monday after he ignored Israeli orders to stop. The boat he was traveling in north of Rosh Hanikra, on the Lebanese border, and the explosive materials on it, were destroyed. Shortly afterwards, Israeli navy patrols detained three Lebanese fishing boats with six fisherman on board. The fundamentalist Amal organization claimed responsibility for the attempted attack. In southern Lebanon, Israeli fighter planes raided Hezbollah targets southwest of the Bekaa Valley on Sunday, the third consecutive day of such strikes. The planes hit areas where three Israeli soldiers were killed and seven were 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.

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