An observation post damaged during Israeli reprisals following a Hezbollah attack on January 28, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
United Nations peacekeepers deployed in south Lebanon are convinced that Israel deliberately targeted one of their positions as “punishment” for failing to adequately deter Hezbollah from carrying out an attack that left two Israeli troops dead, the Lebanese English-language newspaper Daily Star is reporting on Friday.
The Israeli artillery strike, which was launched in retaliation to a Hezbollah attack on an IDF convoy in the Har Dov section abutting the Israeli-Lebanese border, resulted in the death of a Spanish peacekeeper.
UNIFIL officers are quoted by The Daily Star
as saying that they believe the Spanish peacekeeper fell victim to the so-called “Hannibal Procedure,” an IDF tactic of using disproportionate force to prevent enemy forces from taking soldiers prisoner, even at the risk of harming the captive soldier.
The Israeli retaliation to the Hezbollah attack covered a more extensive area than the usual reprisals that follow such incidents, UNIFIL sources told The Daily Star
According to the report, the IDF launched “a mix of mortar rounds and 155mm high explosive and white phosphorous artillery shells” which “blanketed both sides of the Blue Line in a three-kilometer arc from the village of Ghajar to the foot of the Shebaa Farms hills.”
UNIFIL says that the Israeli reprisals targeted an observation tower manned by Spanish peacekeepers in the village of Abbasieh, just one kilometer east of Ghajar. It was that tower that took a direct hit, resulting in the death of Francisco Javier Soria Toledo.
“We can’t say they made a mistake ... the rounds were getting nearer and nearer and eventually they hit it,” a UNIFIL source told The Daily Star
The incident began when Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon attacked IDF vehicles traveling in the village of Ghajar in the Galilee panhandle with Kornet anti-tank missiles on Wednesday, killing two IDF soldiers and wounding seven others.
Maj. Yochai Kalangel, 25, and St.-Sgt. Dor Haim Nini, 20, were killed in the attack.
The terrorists launched five or six anti-tank missiles from a distance of at least four kilometers from their targets, striking the vehicles as they drove two kilometers from the international border.
In the heavy Hezbollah ambush, a military D-Max vehicle containing a company commander and his driver from the Givati Brigade was the first vehicle hit.
This prompted all of those inside an IDF jeep behind it to quickly evacuate their vehicle before it, too, was hit and destroyed with missiles.
The lightly wounded soldiers were riding in nearby military vehicles.
An IDF source stressed that the vehicles were traveling on a road used jointly by military and civilian traffic, and that civilian cars were also in the vicinity of the attack. One house in the village was also struck by a Hezbollah missile.