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IDF finds bodies of missing sailors aboard damaged Navy ship
The remains of three missing Israel Defense Forces soldiers who disappeared when their warship was attacked by Hezbollah off the coast of Lebanon were found Sunday aboard the damaged vessel, military officials said.
The body of a fourth soldier hurt in the attack was identified Saturday as Staff Sergeant Tal Amgar, 21, from Ashdod.
He will be buried on Sunday at 4.00 P.M. in the military section of the Ashdod cemetery.
The three soldiers have been named as Sergeant Yoni Hershkovitz, 21, from Haifa; Corporal Shai Atias, 19, from Rishon Letzion and First Staff Sergeant Dov Shteinshos, 37, from Carmiel.
Their remains will be undergo autopsies at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.
The incident occurred close to 8 P.M., west of Beirut, when the INS Spear, a Saar-5 Class destroyer, was on patrol as part of the naval blockade imposed on Lebanon since Wednesday.
The Saar-5 class is equipped with very advanced defensive systems. However, these were not in operation at the time of the attack, partly because of the number of IAF aircraft operating in the area. It was feared that if the system was in operation, it would mistakenly identify friendly aircraft as enemy targets and engage them.
The Navy has already issued new orders to its vessels operating off Lebanon.
The missile struck the vessel near its helicopter landing pad at the rear of the ship. A large explosion caused the landing pad to cave in and be engulfed in flames that threatened the aviation fuel storage below.
The blaze and the darkness made it difficult to discern the nature of the attack and the missing soldiers. Repeated count of the crew showed that four were missing. Only later was one body discovered in the rear of the ship.