Conclusive evidence shows that the Lebanese army staged a planned ambush on the IDF in Israeli territory and invited media to film the lethal attack on the IDF Tuesday. “It was a planned ambush by a sniper unit," Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot told reporters
Tuesday morning started off with a routine communication by the IDF to United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) forces that the army planned to uproot several trees within Israeli territory in order to remove branches that were interfering with electronic detection devices.
The work was to begin at 9 a.m., but Israel accepted UNIFIL’s request to delay the action for two hours. In the meantime, UNIFIL informed the Lebanese army, which is standard operating procedure.
However, an officer in the army decided to exploit the situation, plan the ambush and even notify Lebanese media, which arrived near the scene to film the attack. Two or three shots were fired, one of them at the head of a senior IDF officer, who was killed, and the other in the chest of a junior officer, who is in serious but stable condition.
All parties—UNIFIL, the Lebanese army, local media and Hizbullah—knew of the ambush, except for Israel. The Lebanese Army claimed that the IDF drew fire by crossing the border, but UNIFIL has confirmed that the IDF was operating within Israeli territory. A UNIFIL officer also told Army Radio Wednesday, "I can confirm that we received notification from the IDF about the work and we passed the information on to the Lebanese Army.
Unlike previous battles with enemy forces and terrorists, such as clashes with Hamas terrorists and the May 31 flotilla battle, foreign media did not blame Israel. TIME magazine reported, “The death by gunshot of Lt. Col. Dov Harari appears to support the Israeli version of events that brought the most serious clash on the Lebanon border in four years.” Another IDF officer was seriously wounded
Government sources told TIME that soldiers heard sniper fire from a Lebanese house, and IDF ground forces and helicopters responded with artillery, rifle and tank fire, killing three Lebanese soldiers and a journalist.
Israel has said that Hizbullah was not involved in the ambush although it certainly knew of it because it has a dominant presence in southern Lebanon and works closely with the Lebanese army.
Tuesday's ambush follows several shooting incidents and Hizbullah rocket attacks on northern Israel since the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War four years ago.
Wednesday morning, IDF forces returned to the site to uproot the trees without interference