August 6, 2006

Hizbollah rocket kills 10 Israeli soldiers

By Yehuda Peretz

KFAR GILADI, Israel (Reuters) - Ten Israeli soldiers were
killed when a Hizbollah rocket landed in a group of reservists
in northern Israel on Sunday, the guerrilla group's deadliest
single missile strike of the Lebanon war.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said 10 soldiers had
been killed and nine wounded, four critically.

The army confirmed reservists called up for duty for ground
operations in southern Lebanon had been killed in the attack on
the Kfar Giladi communal farm, but did not say how many.

Television footage showed soldiers near the scene holding
their heads and one weeping as a military ambulance pulled
away. Helicopters landed nearby to fly the seriously wounded to
hospitals further from the war front.

Blood-stained army boots stood against a wall. Stretchers
lay on the ground, covered in blood.

One officer looked down at the bodies, some covered by
blankets, and shook his head in disbelief.

"I don't recall so many dead ever. This is terrible," said
Ron Valensi, head of the upper Galilee municipal council and a
resident of Kfar Giladi, speaking on Channel 2 Television.

A reporter for Army Radio said residents who had remained
in Kfar Giladi, close to the Lebanese border, stood around and
wept as they looked at the bodies.

The attack occurred near the communal farm's graveyard.

Smoke rose from two destroyed cars. Trees burned in the
aftermath of the attack, sending plumes of smoke into the air.

The casualties bring to 43 the number of people killed in
northern Israel in rocket strikes since war erupted on July 12
after Hizbollah seized two soldiers in a cross-border raid.

Other rockets landed around the town of Kiryat Shmona on
Sunday, officials said. It was unclear if there were

Israeli soldiers have been staying in a college in the Kfar
Giladi communal farm, known as a kibbutz in Israel.

The army has largely taken over the kibbutz, parking tanks
and armored vehicles around the picturesque farm, bordered by
pine trees.

Many residents had fled because of the rocket attacks.

The strike on Kfar Giladi was the deadliest Hizbollah
rocket strike of the war.

On July 16, a Hizbollah rocket killed eight workers at a
railway station in the northern city of Haifa.

Hizbollah has fired more than 2,600 rockets at Israel.

(Additional reporting by Corinne Heller, Allyn Fisher-Ilan
and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem)