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As air strikes came to a temporary halt overnight Sunday, ground operations continued in southern Lebanon, with a total of nine IDF soldiers wounded during operations in the villages of Ataybeh and Al-Adisa, north of Metulla.
The IDF reported six soldiers wounded by Hizbullah fire in Ataybeh on Sunday night. The troops returned fire and killed three guerrillas.
One soldier was said to be moderately wounded, while the others were listed as lightly wounded. All six soldiers were taken to Israeli hospitals for treatment.
On Monday, three other IDF soldiers were lightly wounded when an IDF vehicle flipped over near the Kila village in southern Lebanon, west of Metullah.
While the three soldiers were being evacuated to Israel for medical treatment, anti-tank missiles were fired at the tank that came to remove them. There were no further injuries, but the tank was damaged. Both vehicles were transferred back to Israel.
Troops from the Nahal Brigade surrounded Ataybeh and Al-Adisa on Sunday, while tanks belonging to Brigade 401 were parked alongside Metulla's main road preparing to enter the heart of the villages in an effort to destroy the Hizbullah terror infrastructure there, the IDF said.
The army said that at least 10 guerrillas were killed during the clashes in these villages. Among those killed in the current fighting was Hizbullah's head of logistics in southern Lebanon, Jihad Adiya, who was involved in the kidnapping of three soldiers near Mt. Dov in 2000.
The army added that troops had discovered large weapons caches there, including a Katyusha rocket launcher, 14 rockets, 10 RPGs, an artillery cannon, and 18 shells. Explosives, IDF uniforms, and an instruction manual for anti-tank missiles were also discovered.
A high-ranking IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that Wednesday would be a decisive day for the IDF's campaign against Hizbullah, since that would be when tens of thousands of reservists would be ready for combat and could be sent to push Hizbullah north of the Litani River.
"Every village is a Hizbullah stronghold," the officer said. "There are many more strongholds and we will continue operating against them until they are clear of Hizbullah."