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Russian Immigrant Killed in Fighting with Hezbollah

February 9, 1998
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An Israeli soldier was killed and seven others wounded during fighting Saturday with Hezbollah gunmen in the western portion of the southern Lebanon security zone.

The clash began when a group of soldiers from Israel’s Givati Brigade encountered the Hezbollah gunmen, who had apparently been waiting in ambush.

In the ensuing firefight, 23-year-old Sergeant Nikolai Rappaport, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, was killed.

At least one Hezbollah fighter was believed to have been killed, as were two others during subsequent clashes when additional Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene.

Rappaport is the first Israeli soldier to be killed in southern Lebanon since last October.

As part of the initial inquiry into Saturday’s clash, the Northern Command of the Israel Defense Force is investigating whether the Hezbollah gunmen knew in advance where the Israeli patrol would be.

Rappaport’s body was to be flown back for burial to Russia, where his mother still lives.

Rappaport had lived in a cramped apartment in Tel Aviv with his father and sister.

President Ezer Weizman, who visited the bereaved family Sunday, said he was shocked by the conditions in which the family lived and promised to help.

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