JERUSALEM (Sep. 10)
Israeli military sources are saying that last Friday’s failed infiltration attempt into Lebanon was caused by faulty intelligence-gathering prior to the raid.
The raid failed because there had been no prior intelligence on whether the route taken by the commandos was mined or whether Hezbollah fighters were in the area, the sources said.
The raid by an elite unit of Navy commandos, which was countered by forces of the Lebanese army and Hezbollah gunmen, ended with 11 members of the unit dead and with a 12th missing and presumed dead.
The Israel Defense Force officially declared the 12th commando dead Wednesday, saying his burial place was unknown.
A senior Red Cross representative met with Lebanon’s prime minister this week to negotiate the return of the commando’s remains.
Hezbollah officials said they have the body parts of the soldier and would be willing to trade them for the release of Lebanese prisoners.
Last week’s loss, the Israel Defense Force’s heaviest from a single military operation in 12 years, triggered renewed calls for an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon.
Immediately after the failed raid, the IDF created an investigative panel headed by Maj. Gen. Gabi Ophir to examine all aspects of the operation.