Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Did Israel stage its Hezbollah border attack casualties?

Israel claims injuries reported by Hezbollah from Sunday's attack were staged

A Hezbollah attack on an Israeli military vehicle on Sunday has caused confusion as Israel claimed that the reported injuries sustained by their forces were staged.

On Sunday, Hezbollah fired two or three anti-tank missiles at a battalion headquarters and a military ambulance, hitting both.

After the attack, the Iran-backed group said there were “dead and wounded” soldiers and Lebanese media announced several Israeli soldiers were injured and flown by helicopter to Haifa’s Rambam hospital.

The Israeli army denied the reports, claiming that the vehicle had been empty at the time and the casualties were staged with fake blood and bandages.

The supposedly wounded soldiers were released without receiving any medical care, local reports said.

The claims were met with scepticism in Lebanon.

Amal Saad, a Hezbollah expert and professor at the Lebanese University, said it was unlikely that there were no injuries because Hezbollah’s Kornet anti-tank missiles had proven to be very effective in damaging to Israeli tanks.

“The Israeli narrative seems outlandish and could well have been devised to save face,” Ms Saad said.

But Elizabeth Tsurkov, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said the reports that Israel faked the wounds were “absolutely true”.

The Israeli army is known for its extensive use of decoys, Ms Tsurkov said.

Last week, Lebanese journalist Ali Shoeib, who works for Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV, tweeted photographs that he claimed were Israeli military vehicles with dummy soldiers inside, visible through the windows.

Ms Tsurkov said that dummies were found in jeeps and guard positions across the border in the days before Hezbollah’s attack.

“Ultimately, this is to protect Israeli soldiers’ lives,” she said.

Updated: September 3, 2019 08:35 AM

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