The Israeli military on Wednesday confirmed that two of its soldiers had been killed in a Hezbollah attack on its forces in the occupied Shebaa Farms near the Lebanese border.
The military identified the two as 20-year-old Sergeant Dor Chaim Nini, an infantry soldier, and 25-year-old Captain Yochai Kalangel, a company commander in the Givati brigade and a native of the West Bank settlement of Har Gilo.
The military said that they were killed when five anti-tank missiles hit the vehicles they were riding in.
Lebanese satellite channel al-Mayadeen quoted unnamed sources as saying 15 soldiers had been killed in the attack earlier in the day.
Hezbollah earlier claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had “targeted an Israeli military convoy in the Shebaa Farms composed of several vehicles which was transporting several Zionist soldiers and officers.”
“There were several casualties in the enemy’s ranks,” Hezbollah said in a statement broadcast on the group’s Al-Manar television channel.
Al-Manar reported that Hezbollah — which said the attack was carried out by its “Quneitra martyrs” in reference to a deadly Israeli air strike on the nearby Golan — targeted nine Israeli military vehicles and had killed “a large number” of troops.
The attack came in response to an Israeli bombing of a Hezbollah convoy in Syria last week that killed seven fighters, including an Iranian general.
The Shebaa Farms has been occupied by Israel since 1967, and Hezbollah leaders have vowed to free the area repeatedly.
The area, known as Har Dov in Hebrew, became particularly important in 2000, when the Israeli military retreated from southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation.
Israeli forces refused to leave the Shebaa Farms, however, and the continued occupation has contributed to low-level tensions between Hezbollah and Israel ever since.