Nasrallah reveals new details about ambush, killing of 12 Israeli commandos
Lebanon in 1997 and offers hints about a mysterious murder of a militant leader in Syria
May 13, 2019 5:32 PM
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah revealed new details earlier this month about the disaster in September 1997, when 12 members of Israel’s elite naval commando unit were killed in southern Lebanon.
Nasrallah claims that Hezbollah had been tracking Israel’s preparations for the mission and ambushed the commandos from the Shayetet 13 unit of the Israel Defense Forces – a scenario that some Israeli sources have also suggested over the years.
Nasrallah spoke on May 2 at a memorial ceremony for Mustafa Badreddine, a senior Hezbollah figure who died under mysterious circumstances three years ago in Syria, and had been involved in the 1997 incident.
Nasrallah’s remarks have been translated and analyzed in an article by Dr. Shimon Shapira, a brigadier general in the IDF reserves and an expert on Iran and Hezbollah. The article was published on the website of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a research institute.
On the night of September 4, 1997, 16 Shayetet fighters, under the command of Lt.-Col. Yossi Korakin, were tasked with laying bombs along the coastal road in Lebanon between Tyre and Sidon. After landing on the beach, an explosive device was detonated that caused serious casualties and severed the force into two. Korakin and 10 commandos were killed. Those who survived reported they were fired upon after the blast.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a public appearance October 24, 2015
Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a public appearance October 24, 2015\ REUTERS
The survivors and the bodies of their comrades-in-arms were evacuated by helicopter, with great effort, during which an IDF doctor was killed by Lebanese gunfire. The body of one of those killed, Sgt. Itamar Ilya, remained behind and was returned to Israel in a swap with Hezbollah nine months later.