The border tensions brewing for weeks on the Lebanese-Israel border boiled over Tuesday, Aug. 3 into a heavy exchange of cross-border fire. Lt. Col. Dov Harari, 45, from Netanya, batallion commander of the eastern Lebanese sector was killed in a surprise Lebanese cross-border attack. He was killed by what Maj. Gen. Gady Eisencott, OC Northern Command, later called one of two, well-planned, unprovoked "sniper ambushes" set by the Lebanese army – one against a group of Israeli officers standing behind the border fence and the second an RPG attack on an Israeli tank. Israeli captain Ezra Lakiya, from Kfar Arif, was seriously injured. He turned the corner on the road to recovery Thursday after major surgery.
Lebanon reported three soldiers and one civilian killed in Israel's heavy retaliation for the attack.
Israel has complained to the UN.
Maj. Gen. Eisencott described the incident, the most serious since the end of the 2006 war with Hizballah, as follows: At around noon Tuesday, Israeli forces were cutting down small trees near Kibbutz Misgav Am on our side of the border. "Their officers were watching the work from a forward command post 200-300 meters behind the border when all of a sudden Lebanese forces suddenly started shooting without any sort of provocation."
Israel decided on all-out retaliation because the attack was so completely unprovoked, he said, referring to the tank, artillery and helicopter fire the IDF launched against Lebanese army positions. When the Lebanese commanders asked for a ceasefire to evacuate their wounded, "We acceded to their request but then too they shelled one of our tanks. The tank gun fired on the shooters."
debkafile reported earlier:
The incident flared when Lebanese troops ordered Israeli soldiers to stop clearing trees and installing a surveillance camera on the border fence near Kibbutz Misgav-Am opposite the Lebanese village of Adeisseh. They accused the Israeli soldiers of encroaching on Lebanese territory. When the Israelis replied they had kept to their own side of the border and refused to back down, the Lebanese started shooting, using mortars and RPGs.
The possibility that the Lebanese soldiers who opened fire were Hizballah gunmen disguised in military uniform is still under investigation.
All Lebanese units in the south went on full alert when President Michel Suleiman, at two p.m. called on the Lebanese people to be prepared to lay down their lives to defend their country and UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which terminated the 2006 war with Israel.
In Jerusalem, Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu urgently consulted with security chiefs on Israel's response to the Lebanese attack.
The Israeli complaint to the United Nations holds the Lebanese government responsible for attacking Israeli troops whose work on the Israeli side of the border was coordinated with UN peacekeepers.
According to debka