LIVE BLOG: Rocket Attack Along Northern Israeli Border – IDF Soldiers Injured [UPDATED 3:40 PM IL]

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[EARLIER UPDATES IN EXTENDED ARTICLE]

15:40: IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz is on his way back from N. Israel to the Defense Ministry where he will make his recommendations to PM Netanyahu and DM Ya’alon.

15:03: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman calls for a harsh and disproportionate Israeli response to Hizbullah attacks, pointing out both the United States and China would do the same.

14:54: IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz arrives in the north for a briefing from the northern district commander and other senior officers.

14:46: Lebanon reports two IDF gunboats have entered Lebanese waters.

  • The IDF Homefront Command stresses it has not called for opening shelters anywhere in Israel.

14:32: It appears the IDF vehicle was hit with a Russian built 9M133 Kornet-E long range anti-tank missile.

14:29: Arab League leader Nabil el-Arabi has turned to the United Nations to immediately become involved to prevent a deterioration of the situation between Israeli and Hizbullah.

13:56: Al-Jazeera is reporting that a UNIFIL soldier from Spain has been killed by IDF artillery fire into S. Lebanon. There is no Israeli confirmation of this report.

13:50: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has a most difficult strategic decision ahead. On the one hand, if Israel does not respond with firm hand, it will fail to maintain its deterrence achieved with Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War. On the other hand, elections are less than 50 days away and the prime minister would not like to enter into an armed conflict at this time.

  • Tefilos requested for IDF soldier Shai ben Siman Tov, critically wounded in today’s attack.

13:43: One should realize that the location selected by Hizbullah for the attack is a disputed areas in the eyes of the international community, Sheba Farm. The terrorist organization did not attack an internationally recognized border.

  • Cross-border rocket fire continues at this time.
  • The photo aired on Hizbullah TV of a twisted charred IDF vehicle that is going viral is not authentic Channel 10 News reports. The report states experts have examined the background visible in the photo is of another venue, not the area of the attack.
  • Four IDF soldiers are being treated in the trauma unit of Ziff Hospital in Tzfas. They have shrapnel injuries and they are all listed in light condition, Channel 10 News reports.
  • The road to and from Ghajar remains shut at this time. Other northern area roads have been reopened.

13:41: Hizbullah TV has released a photo of a twisted charred military vehicle. IDF officials do not confirm the photo is from this last attack.

  • Hizbullah rocket fire into Israel continues at this time.
  • The IAF continues surgical strikes in southern Lebanon.

13:32: Hizbullah continuing to fire mortar shells into northern Israel at this hour.

13:29: IDF tractors operating near Zarit in N. Israel for four hours in search of terrorist tunnels. Residents of the communities insist they hear digging.

13:25: Students of the Tel Chai College, who were under lock down for over an hour, have been given the ‘all clear’ to come out.

  • PM Netanyahu has arrived in the Kirya Defense Ministry on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv.
  • Tzfas City Hall is running a training event to open bomb shelters to maintain familiarity with the process in light of the escalation in warfare.

13:22: Galil Panhandle area schools have sent messages to parents not to come and get their children. The children will be transported.

13:18: The IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Moti Almoz tells reporters “The IDF response hasn’t ended”.

  • He confirms soldiers were hit in the attack but will not speak about numbers of their conditions.
  • The air force continues to patrol the skies in the Har Dov area.

13:14: Six soldiers arrive in Ziff Hospital. The more seriously wounded still en route to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

  • Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon heading to the Defense Ministry too for high-level consultations.
  • Exchanges of gunfire have halted at this hour.

13:08: Schools in northern areas are dismissing students.

13:07: The official Hizbullah media release says the organization attacked and IDF convey at 11:31.

13:06: A number of victims in light-to-moderate condition are being transported to Ziff Hospital in Tzfas.

13:03: The soldiers wounded in the attack are from the Tzabar Battalion of the Givati Brigade. 13:03: The soldiers wounded in the attack are from the Tzabar Battalion of the Givati Brigade.

12:56: Prime Minister Netanyahu has left Sderot and is heading to the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv to join high-level defense consultations.

12:51: COMPREHENSIVE RECAP OF EVENTS — The Hizbullah attack, which began about 90 minutes ago, involved a number of simultaneous offensives. A rocket was fired at an IDF vehicle(s), mortar shell fire was directed at an IDF position on Har Dov and a rocket slammed into a home in the border community of Kfar Ghajar. Hizbullah rocket fire is currently continuing, directed at the same areas, Mt. Hermon and Har Dov. Israel has been responding with artillery fire. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz is conferring with high-level commanders and state officials to determine how stern the Israeli response will be.

There appears to have been nine soldiers struck in the initial rocket attack with some listed in critical condition. There are a number of fatalities R”L.

The Mt. Hermon ski resort has been shut and visitors are being evacuated from that areas as well as other tourist locales such as Banyas. Residents in Metula were instructed to go to ‘lockdown’ mode earlier, but the ‘all clear’ was given some time ago.

Former National Security Advisor Giora Eiland tells Channel 2 News that Hizbullah does have the ability to launch an all-out offensive against Israel but the terrorist organization in not interested in doing so, unwilling to absorb the IDF response that will result in a widespread death and destruction in Lebanon. Eiland said “Hizbullah is not motivated towards an all-out offensive” which today would be far more significant than seen in the Second Lebanon War.

12:46: Channel 2 News quoting IDF officials: All soldiers present and accounted for. There was no abduction of any soldiers despite rumors to the contrary.

  • Hizbullah mortar fire into the Har Dov and Mt. Hermon areas continues.

12:44: PM Netanyahu: To all those wishing to challenge us, I suggest you look and see what occurred in Gaza.

  • Additional Hizbullah fire to the Har Dov area.
  • Banyas and other nature resorts being cleared of visitors.
  • A number of mortar shells have just landed in the Mount Hermon area.
  • Two military vehicles were struck in the anti-tank rocket attack.
  • No injuries reported in rocket strike to Kfar Ghajar home.

12:41: The Mount Hermon ski resort has been closed for the second consecutive day. Visitors are instructed to evacuate the area as quickly as possible.

12:39: Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is taking part in a cornerstone ceremony in the southern community of Sderot told the press “The IDF is retaliating at this time”.

12:34: It appears a terror tunnel was discovered near Zarit in N. Israel. This would add credibility to those who report the anti-tank rocket attack was a diversion in the hope of abducting a soldier via the tunnel.

12:26: In light of the attack, the Rosh Pina and Haifa Airports have shut down for the time being.

12:23: The military has instructed northern residents to resume regular activities at this time. The seriously wounded soldiers have been evacuated, presumably to the Haifa Medical Center trauma center in Haifa.

  • Residents of the border village of Ghajar report a rocket struck a home, which is ablaze.
  • There are reports that the initial rocket attack against an IDF vehicle was a diversion for a second attack. IDF sources are not commenting at this time.
  • Reports earlier of a possible kidnapping are being discarded as false.
  • Hizbullah is claiming responsibility for the attack(s).
  • IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz is now convening a senior briefing to discuss the latest cross-border attack.

12:15: Zaka reports a total of nine wounded, with four listed in critical condition and five in serious condition.

  • Metula residents are now permitted to exit from lockdown.
  • Artillery fire into Lebanon continues.
  • Israel Police has closed Route 99 towards Tank Junction in both directions.

12:12: It is now reported that six IDF soldiers have been wounded in the rocket attack, with some in serious condition. IDF artillery is firing at the source of the attack over the border.

11:59: Residents of Metula and Kibbutz Snir are instructed to remain in lockdown at this time.

11:58: A number of IDF soldiers have been wounded in a cross-border mortar rocket attack.

The IDF a short time ago was alerted as explosions were heard along Israel’s northern border. Residents reported explosions in the Har Dov area. Troops were dispatched to determine if a security incident was taking place.

Earlier on Wednesday morning 8 Shevat it was reported that combat engineers have begun digging in areas along the northern border to determine if terrorists tunnels similar to those dug by Hamas exist in that area.

Troops are now operating in an effort to determine if rockets were fired across the border as occurred on Tuesday.

There are conflicting reports but it appears the IDF is reporting an anti-tank rocket was fired across the border at a military vehicle. The vehicle may be in or near the village of Ghajar. In addition, it is reported the IDF has instructed residents of Metula to remain indoors fearing an infiltration may have occurred. The entire area is on alert. More information to follow.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

1 COMMENT

  1. Why are Jewish soldiers dying to protect Arab-“Israelis” this is why is so terrible, maybe Yair or Avner Netanyahu can serve there? Hezbollah won in 2006 and will win again just like Hamas did this past summer despite the 67 kedoshim, down with Bibi.