GOC Northern Command: "This was a planned ambush". Lt. Col. Harari was shot and killed

During the grave incident in the North, Lt. Col. (res.) Dov Harari was killed, and Cpt. (res.) Ezra Lakia was critically wounded. Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot called it an “initiated and provocative action by the Lebanese army, without any provocation from our territory. Full responsibility lies on the Lebanese army.”

Date: 03/08/2010, 4:25 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

Lt. Col. (res.) Dov Harari (45) from Netanya was shot and killed by Lebanese military gunfire during a grave incident which took place in northern Israel on Tuesday (Aug. 3). Harari served as a battalion commander. Capt. Ezra Lakia (30) from Kfar Ha’Rif sustained severe injuries in the same incident. Capt. Lakia served as a platoon commander. Both families have been notified about the incident.

Lt. Col. (res.) Dov Hariri will be laid to rest on Wednesday (Aug. 4) at 16:00 at the military cemetery in Netanya.

GOC of Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, spoke to military journalists on Tuesday evening, and discussed the developments of the severe shooting incident which took place on Israel’s northern border. He said that the attack against IDF (Zahal) forces operating within the Blue Line was an “unequivocal initiated and provocative action.”

“The Lebanese army used sniper shooting, and hit two commanders of our forces. It is our understanding that this was an initiated and provocative action by the Lebanese army, which executed the shots fired towards the force within territory of the State of Israel with no provocation from our territory. We view this shooting as an extremely severe incident,” he said.

According to Maj. Gen. Eizenkot, the IDF (Zahal) force which responded to the incident was made up of soldiers from the Israeli Air Force, the Armored Corps and the Artillery Corps, for an immediate response. “Afterwards, we executed artillery fire and helicopter fire towards a Lebanese army position commanding the area. We fired additional shots towards the LAF Battalion Command that the soldiers belong to,” he added.

During the IDF (Zahal) response, requests came from senior LAF officials for a ceasefire, in order to evacuate the injured Lebanese soldiers. “We agreed to a ceasefire, but a half hour afterwards, there were RPG shots fired towards an IDF (Zahal) tank. The rocket missed its target and the tank fired shots in response, destroyed the launchers, and continued to fire towards an LAF position,” he added.

Full Responsibility Lies on the LAF

Shots were fired on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 2) by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) towards an IDF (Zahal) position where Israeli soldiers were performing routine maintenance duties east of the border fence within Israeli territory. A previous notification about these activities had already been passed on to UNIFIL.

An IDF (Zahal) force immediately responded with light fire towards LAF forces, and afterwards used artillery fire. Several minutes later an Israel Air Force (IAF) helicopter fired at the LAF Battalion Command Center in Al-Taybeh, damaging several LAF armored combat vehicles. The full responsibility for this incident rests on the LAF which violated the relative quiet in the region.

Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, arrived at Israel’s northern border and has been closely following the events as they unfold. He is currently holding situation assessment meetings with the Commander of IDF (Zahal)’s Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, as well as the Commander of the Galilee Regional Division and additional commanders. Civilian residents in the region have been asked to maintain their normal daily routine.

Three Shooting Incidents Since the Second Lebanon War

Since the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War over four years ago, three incidents of firing towards Israeli territory have been recorded. In each incident, terrorist organizations have claimed responsibility.

On June 17, 2007, three Katyusha rockets were fired from the Tal Adiassa region of Lebanon. Two rockets hit in Kiryat Shmone, one fell in an open area in the Vradim neighborhood, and the second fell in the northern industrial area, where a vehicle sustained a direct hit. On January 8, 2008 at night, two Katyusha rockets were fired towards Israel and fell in the center of the town of Shlomi, in the Western Galilee.