(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Officer, soldier killed and 14 wounded in north

An IDF officer and an IDF soldier were killed, two soldiers severely wounded, five moderately wounded and seven lightly wounded during an IDF operation Monday in the area of Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon.
The two soldiers who were killed: Staff Sergeant Koby Smileg, 20, of Rehovot; and 2nd Lieutenant Lotan Slavin, 21, of Hatzeva.

Starting yesterday IDF forces have been operating in the city of Bint Jbeil and a number of additional villages in the central sector of southern Lebanon with the aim of destroying Hizbullah’s forward terror infrastructure along the Israeli-Lebanese border and to reestablish security along the border. The forces are targeting Hizbullah infrastructure, missile launchers, weapons stores and other facilities in their area of operation, and have killed or injured a large number of terrorists in the process. Following IDF requests in the past days, most of the civilian population has temporarily evacuated the area.

In the early morning hours of July 24 heavy exchanges of fire developed between IDF forces and Hizbullah terrorists, during which two soldiers were severely sounded and four were moderately wounded. Some of the wounded appear to have been hit by IDF fire, and an investigation is slated to begin upon completion of the operation.

Two IDF tanks arrived at the location to evacuate the wounded and Hizbullah terrorists opened fire on them, killing an officer and a soldier and wounding eight others.

Two pilots killed in helicopter crash

Two Air Force pilots were killed today (Monday, 24 July 2006) in the afternoon hours when an Air Force combat helicopter crashed in the north of Israel, during an operational flight to aid and protect IDF ground forces operating in southern Lebanon.

The circumstances of the event are being investigated by the Air Force.

Summary of airstrikes
During the last 24 hours IDF conducted airstrikes against approximately 270 targets in Lebanon.

Among the targets were:

  • More than 35 suspect vehicles used by terrorists to support their launching of rockets against Israel, either found parked at or seen fleeing from launch sites.
  • 21 launchers used to send rockets against Israel.
  • More than 50 buildings and headquarters used as terrorist hideouts and weapons storage by the Hizbullah terror organization.
  • Communications arrays used by the Hizbullah terror organization to facilitate communication between its members.
  • A bridge and access routes to disrupt the terrorists’ abilities to reach rocket launch sites.
  • Sites from which rockets are launched against Israel.