A week after a UN-brokered cease-fire went into effect, IDF troops clashed with Hizbullah guerrillas in the village of Shama in the western sector of southern Lebanon Monday. Three gunmen were killed during the fighting that erupted after the Hizbullah guerrillas were spotted approaching an IDF paratrooper force.
Also Monday, an IDF soldier was seriously injured after he accidentally fell and hit his head in the village of Taibeh in the eastern sector.
Since the cease-fire went into effect last Monday, both Hizbullah and the IDF have held their fire. Monday's incident raised concerns within the defense establishment, with officials warning that it could spark additional clashes and lead to a new round of violence with Hizbullah.
The IDF is currently holding positions it has taken up outside villages in southern Lebanon in preparation for the transfer of the territory to the new multinational force that has begun its gradual deployment. The soldiers are under orders not to enter villages and to keep a distance from civilians as well as Hizbullah gunmen. They are only permitted to open fire at guerrillas if they feel their lives are in immediate danger.
Meanwhile Monday, Israel handed over five Lebanese men captured during a commando raid in the beginning of the month in the Hizbullah-stronghold of Baalbek to UN peacekeepers. At least 16 Lebanese were killed in the commando operation against what authorities in the Bekaa Valley city said was an Iranian-built hospital. Israel said the building was a Hizbullah base and claimed it captured five Hizbullah fighters and killed 10 guerrillas.
The inquiry commission set up by Defense Minister Amir Peretz and led by former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Amnon Lipkin-Shahak suspended its activities on Monday after the committee members decided to wait until the government ruled on the issue of establishing a state commission of inquiry. The Shahak committee was also waiting for answers from Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on questions regarding the right to grant immunity to witnesses who testify as well as the committee's overall legal authority.
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