Israel Mourns Fallen Soldiers; Netanyahu Blames Lebanon and Syria for Deadly Attack

Prime Minister Netanyahu sent condolences to the families of the fallen Israeli soldiers and holds Lebanon and Syria responsible for the Hezbollah attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at security meeting  in Tel Aviv Wednesday evening. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at security meeting in Tel Aviv Wednesday evening.
(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

An IDF officer and soldier were killed on Wednesday morning when the Hezbollah terror organization fired five anti-tank missiles at IDF vehicles in the Har Dov region of northern Israel.

Sergeant Dor Chaim Nini, a 20-year-old infantry soldier from Shtulim, a community in south-central Israel near Ashdod, was posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Captain Yochai Kalangel, 25, a company commander in the Tzabar battalion in the prestigious Givati brigade, is from Har Gilo, a village five kilometers south of Jerusalem. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major.

In addition, seven IDF soldiers were injured, two of them moderately.

In the evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began an assessment of the security situation at Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv together with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Shabak (Israel Security Agency) Director Yoram Cohen and other security officials.

Netanyahu Says Lebanon and Syria are Responsible

“I would like to send condolences to the families of the fallen and my best wishes for a full recovery to our wounded soldiers,” Netanyahu said at the start of the session. “Whoever is behind today’s attack will pay the full price. For some time, Iran – via Hezbollah – has been trying to establish an additional terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights.

“We are taking strong and responsible action against this attempt,” the prime minister stated. “The Lebanese government and the Assad regime share responsibility for the consequences of the attacks emanating from their territories against the State of Israel. In all of these events, our mission is to defend the State of Israel. Our only consideration is the security of the State of Israel and its citizens. Thus we have acted and thus we will continue to act.”

President Rivlin Cuts Trip to New York Short

When the attack occurred, President Reuven Rivlin was in New York to address the UN special session in commemoration of the Holocaust and the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. He instructed his staff to work to shorten his stay and is expected to depart for Tel Aviv the same evening in order to support the bereaved families and the wounded soldiers. He was originally scheduled to return Saturday evening.

President Reuven Rivlin, speaking at UN General Assembly for Holocaust Remembrance Day, cuts trip to New York short. (Photo: Photo: Mark Neyman/GPO )

President Reuven Rivlin, speaking at UN General Assembly for Holocaust Remembrance Day, cuts trip to New York short. (Photo: Photo: Mark Neyman/GPO )

“I am here today moments before my address to the United Nations special session to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” the president stated. “However, my heart and my mind are at home in Israel.  I want to send my condolences to the bereaved families as well as my wishes for a full recovery to the wounded. I am certain that the IDF knows how to manage the situation and that Israel’s leaders will work to calm the situation as much as possible. We are with you, even when we are required to do our job abroad, for our country and for our people.”