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Hezbollah kidnaps 2 IDF soldiers during clashes on Israel-Lebanon border
Guerillas from the militant Hezbollah organization kidnapped two Israel Defense Forces soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border Wednesday morning, in the midst of massive shelling attacks on Israel's north.
The soldiers were snatched when guerillas attacked two IDF armored Hummer jeeps patrolling along the border with gunfire and explosives. Other soldiers inside the Hummers were wounded.
The IDF on Wednesday afternoon sent troops across the border to search for the missing soldiers, marking the first incursion into Lebanon since the withdrawal in May 2000.
Army Radio reported large numbers of troops, as well as aircraft, were taking part in searches on the Lebanese side of the border.
According to Channel 10, the IDF later said that it had lost all hope of retrieving the abducted soldiers with ground forces.
Hezbollah said Wednesday that its guerrillas had destroyed an IDF tank attempting to cross the border into Lebanon.
The IDF also ordered troops deployed on the Lebanon and Gaza borders on high alert in the event that armed groups may attempt to fire Katyusha and Qassam rockets into Israel.
Immediately after the Hezbollah attack, the organization's Al-Manar television station began broadcasting clips calling on Israel to release Lebanese prisoners held in Israel in return for the soldiers.
The group in particular emphasized the release of Lebanese militant Samir Kuntar, jailed in Israel since a 1979 attack in the northern town of Nahariyah, in which he entered an apartment and murdered three family members and an Israeli police officer.
Al-Manar also broadcast video clips of previous Palestinian and Lebanese attacks on IDF troops.