Wednesday, 24 February 1999

Israeli commander, 2 lieutenants killed in south Lebanon

USA TODAY, Feb 24, 1999

Matthew Kalman

The commander of Israel's elite paratroop unit and two of his lieutenants were killed and five soldiers were wounded Tuesday in an ambush by Islamic guerrillas in south Lebanon.

Maj. Eitan Balahsan, 30, commander of the Sayeret Salhanim paratroopers, was one of the most senior Israeli officers killed in the 8-mile-wide buffer zone that Israel has occupied in south Lebanon since 1985.

The ambush occurred near the village of Birkit Jabbur in a no-man's-land separating the eastern sector of Israel's self-declared "security zone" from the southern Bekaa plain, which is a Hezbollah stronghold under Syrian control.


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