From Wire Reports
Y A R I N, Lebanon, Oct. 7 - The Israeli army confirmed today that
Hezbollah guerrillas had captured three Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese
"This afternoon, three Israeli army soldiers were kidnapped during
operational activity along the border fence … on the northern frontier by
Lebanese elements, apparently Hezbollah," the army said in a statement.
"The Israeli army will make every effort to locate the abducted
soldiers and to return them home safely," the statement read.
Violence at Border
The Hezbollah report came amid a day of violence on the border that began
when Israeli soldiers opened fire on hundreds of Palestinian refugees who
had converged on the border fence, pelting soldiers on the Israeli side
with stones. The Israeli gunfire killed one person.
Soon after the death, guerrillas fired rockets on Israeli army
positions in the disputed Chebaa farms region on the eastern part of the
border. It was the first time rockets have been fired from the Lebanese
side of the border since Israel ended its 18-year occupation of southern
Lebanon in May.
The guerrillas opened fire at three Israeli positions in Sammaka,
Ruweisat Alam and the Chebaa gate, security officials said. It was not
clear who fired and whether any hits were scored.
The pro-Iranian Hezbollah has warned that its attacks on Israel could
resume if Israeli forces remained in the Chebaa farms region, which Israel
seized from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war, and which Syria and Lebanon
have said should be returned to Lebanon.
The earlier demonstration had erupted at Yarin Gate, a former border
crossing further west from Chebaa farms. Demonstrators had arrived by bus
from Palestinian refugee camps to protest Israeli actions in more than a
week of clashes with Palestinians.
At Least 14 Injured
At least 14 people were injured by Israeli fire around Yarin. Two of the
wounded were in serious condition and were rushed to a hospital in the
southern port of Tyre, the security officials said, speaking on condition
The demonstrators continued to throw stones and shout obscenities at
the Israelis following the shooting, witnesses said.
Later, they lobbed Molotov cocktails at a fortified Israeli position
a few yards across the border. As flames erupted from the position,
Israeli soldiers were seen abandoning it, according to witnesses.
The demonstrators also burned tires as they chanted "Allahu Akbar,"
God is Great.
Officials: Army Was Prepared
In Israel, officials said the army had been prepared for such an onslaught
since Friday night. Maj. Gen. Gabi, the Israeli army commander for the
border area, spoke with a commander from the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon
and asked him to tell the Lebanese government that Israel would use an
iron hand in repelling any attempt to enter.
The Israeli army believed the demonstrators wanted to storm the
Israeli border community of Sarit, the officials said, speaking on
condition of anonymity. Israeli army trucks equipped with loudspeakers
called on the protesters to return to Lebanon, firing in the air and then
at their feet.
The Israeli army confirmed that live ammunition was used in the
Srulik Tayeb, a Sarit resident, told Israel army radio that the
protesters began banging on the fence, and Israeli troops eventually
"About 11 or 12 buses reached the border fence. About 500 to 600
people got out, some with flags," Tayeb said. "They marched toward the
fence. They began banging on the fence."
He said the protesters were wounded as they "tried to climb the fence
and tried to come over to our side."
"We are all scared," added Tayeb. "Everyone has taken their kids; we
are putting them into [underground] shelters. The whole community is in
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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