A United Nations peace keeping officer from Canada told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that Hizbullah used the same tactic to draw fire on the UNIFIL post which resulted in the death of four U.N. observers. "This is their favorite trick," he said. "They use the U.N. as shields."
Morale of the Golani soldiers was extremely high after the bitter battle, the fiercest in many years. One of the soldiers injured in Bint Jbeil said from his hospital bed Wednesday night, "I want to go back and fight with my comrades. Morale is totally high. [The battle] was complex, and there is fear, but we have to take the fear and turn it around."
IDF officers are trying to cool down the soldiers' enthusiasm to take over Bint Jbeil. The troops marked the Hizbullah terrorists with an "x." "Tomorrow will see their death," they said. "Tomorrow they will pay the price."
The names of the fallen soldiers who fell at Bint Jbeil are:
Corporal Ohad Kleisner, 20, of Beit Horon
Lt. Alex Shwartzman, 24, of Acre (Akko)
Corporal Shimon Adega, 21, of Kiryat Gat
Sgt. Shimon Dahan, 20, of Ashdod
Corporal Asaf Namar, 27, of Kiryat Yam
Lt.-Col. Ro'i Klein, 31, of the Samarian community of Eli,
Lt. Amichai Merchavia, 24, also of Eli
Sgt. Idan Cohen, 21, of Jaffa.
Lt. Yiftah Shrier, 21, of Haifa, was killed in a separate incident when Hizbullah terrorists fired an anti-tank missile between Bint Jbeil and Marun A-Ras late Wednesday.
Three soldiers still are in serious condition, and 19 suffered light-to-moderate injuries in the ambush battle, which occurred around 5 a.m. (10 p.m. EDT).
when dozens of Hizbullah terrorist guerilla fighters ambushed their hilltop position.
The IDF had maintained that the army was in control of the village, which is considered the capital of Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah has been building tunnels and stockpiling weapons in the six years since the IDF withdrew from the area, which they know thoroughly. The Hizbullah terrorist guerillas were well-equipped with Iranian- and Syrian-made rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank and mortar shells, Lau missiles and rifles.
Several troops were injured while trying to rescue others, in an evacuation that took more than six hours. Helicopter rescue pilots endured enemy fire, and several soldiers carried stretchers more than one mile.
Northern Command Head Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam said that despite the heavy loss of soldiers, the army recovered valuable intelligence information, and that large amounts of communication equipment, weapons and ammunition also were taken by the IDF.
"The soldiers displayed sangfroid, bravery and professionalism after they came under fire," he said. "We estimate that at least 15 Hizbullah guerrillas were killed in the village. There are also assessments that put the number of casualties on the Lebanese side at 40 to 50 dead fighters," he added.