One Israeli soldier and four pro-Iranian Hezbollah guerrillas were killed Friday in the bloodiest clashes in southern Lebanon in a month, Hezbollah and Israeli sources said.
The flare-up on the last active Arab-Israeli front line came two days after Israel’s decision to build housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem, a move that enraged many anti-Israeli Islamist and Palestinian guerrilla groups.
The soldier’s death raised to five the number of Israeli troops killed in southern Lebanon this year; 27 were killed last year.
Hezbollah guerrillas rained dozens of mortar bombs on army posts on the edge of Israel’s self-declared “security zone” in southern Lebanon, sources in the pro-Israeli South Lebanon Army, or SLA, said.
Hezbollah is fighting to oust 1,000 Israeli troops and 3,000 SLA militiamen from the 9-mile-deep zone Israel set up in southern Lebanon after its 1982 invasion to prevent raids on northern Israel.