One Israeli officer was killed during clashes between Israel and the Lebanese army along the border on Tuesday. 45-year-old Lt. Col. Dov Harari, from Netanya, was a reserves battalion commander in the engineering corps.
Another Israeli officer sustained severe wounds and has been admitted to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. He is in stable condition.
Lebanese and Israeli troops exchanged fire on the border Tuesday in the most serious clashes since a fierce war four years ago, and Lebanon said at least three of its soldiers and a journalist were killed in shelling.
The violence apparently erupted over a move by Israeli soldiers to trim some hedges along the border, a sign of the level of tensions at the frontier where Israel fought a war in 2006 with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Harari, father of four, was killed by sniper fire directed at his post. The other officer at the post was captain Ezra Lakia, who was seriously wounded. The two were situated some 300 meters from the border within Israel in a position to oversee the trimming of the bushes along the border fence.
Israel Defense Forces GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot announced Tuesday that the two Israeli officers had been very seriously hit during the exchange of fire. Eizenkot said that the incident had been a “deliberate ambush.”
Eizenkot told Israeli media that “a routine operation was carried out during the afternoon near Misgav Am – an operation whose purpose was to trim some bushes near the border, in our [Israeli] territory. It was on both sides of the border but still within [Israeli] territory. Officers oversaw the operation from a permanent position. Sniper fire was directed at the officers, and two of them were wounded as a result.”
The GOC Northern Command stressed that “this was a pre-planned event, aggression by the Lebanese army who shot at soldiers inside Israeli territory without any provocation. We view this as a very severe incident.”