Israeli commandos kill 11, abduct six in east Lebanon raid
Israeil commandos carried out a raid on the Hizbullah stronghold of Baalbek in east Lebanon at daybreak Wednesday. According to the Lebanese police, the Israeli forces kidnapped six Hizbullah activists and killed several others including one Syrian before completing the operation and returning to Israel.
Lebanese security sources identified three of the abducted men as Hussein Nasrallah, Hussein al-Burji and Ahmed al-Ghotah and described them as low ranking members of the group.
The sources said that the raid aimed to capture senior Hizbullah member Mohammed Yazbek, who was reportedly being treated at the Dar al-Hikma hospital in the town.
Lebanese reports said Israeli planes bombarded the village of Jammaliyeh during clashes nearby in Baalbek. They said five members of the same family were found dead in one house and two more were found dead in another collapsed house. Six other villagers were killed and two wounded. One civilian was also killed by an air strike in Hermel to the north.
Lebanese security sources said the Israeli commandos landed by helicopter, launching several strikes near Baalbek, which is located in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley not far from the Syrian border.
The operation began with at least five rapid air strikes on Baalbek and its surroundings at 10:20 P.M. - three hours before the end of Israel's self-imposed two-day pause in air attacks. Helicopters fired rockets and heavy machinegun fire at targets near a hospital in Baalbek and other sites in the city, witnesses said.
Hizbullah claimed that the Israeli commandos were trapped inside the hospital and were engaged in fierce fighting with its fighters who surrounded the facility. "A group of Israeli commandos was brought to the hospital by a helicopter. They entered the hospital and are trapped inside as our fighters opened fire on them and fierce fighting is still raging," Hizbullah spokesman Hussein Rahal told AP.