One explosive-laden terrorist was blown to smithereens and nine Israeli soldiers were wounded Friday in a clash near the ruins of the Crusader-era Beaufort Castle in the southern Lebanon security zone.
One of the soldiers suffered medium wounds; the others were slightly hurt.
The clash occurred when an Israel Defense Force paratroop brigade encountered four armed members of the Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah as the brigade was sweeping the hilltop area.
The Israeli troops opened fire on the four, and their commander hit one of them. The injured man hit the ground but continued to fire on the Israelis from that position.
A second shot hit the man’s knapsack, which contained explosives that the terrorists had apparently intended to plant on the road. He was blown to bits by the ensuing explosion.
The blast also wounded the IDF men, who were only about 3 feet away.
The Israeli commander, Capt. Zohar of Jerusalem, gave his account of the incident. The 23-year-old patrol commander said his men had noticed a gang of four armed men creeping through the underbrush early Friday morning and opened fire on them.
“I hit one of the terrorists with two shots at a range of several meters,” he said.
“There was a tremendous explosion following one of the shots, which hit his backpack. Several of our soldiers were flung into the air, some suffering burns and shrapnel wounds,” he said.
Zohar himself was wounded in the eye and his face burned. But his men had warm praise for the manner in which their unit commander “continued calmly to give orders and help direct reinforcements to the spot. He refused to let the medic treat him until all his men had been seen to.”
Zohar himself had high praise for the unit medic, Corp. Itai Friedman of Carmiel, who, despite being wounded in the eye and arm, ran back and forth treating his wounded comrades.
As usual, Hezbollah claimed a great victory in its reports on the operation. The group said one of its members had been sent on a suicide mission, blowing himself up near an IDF patrol and wounding 18 Israeli soldiers in the process.
There was no word on what happened to the remaining three Hezbollah men.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.