Hezbollah video claims to show bomb that killed Israeli general in 1999

Al-Manar TV broadcasts blurred footage of explosion which it says blew up Israeli car, killing Israel’s top military official in Lebanon, two soldiers and a journalist

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

The Hezbollah-affiliated television network station Al-Manar on Wednesday broadcast footage of what it claimed was a roadside bomb attack in which an Israeli brigadier general, two Arab-Israeli soldiers and a radio reporter were killed 19 years ago.

There was no independent confirmation that the video, with its blurred images of the aftermath of an explosion, was authentic.

Brig. Gen. Erez Gerstein — then head of the IDF’s Lebanon liaison unit, effectively the top Israeli military official in Lebanon — Imad Abu-Rish, Omar El-Kabetz and Kol Israel radio reporter Ilan Roeh died on February 28, 1999 when the armored vehicle in which they were traveling in an Israeli-controlled area of south Lebanon was blown up.

A still image from blurry video footage broadcast by Hezbollah-backed Al-Manar television on February 28, 2018, that purports to show the aftermath of a Hezbollah assassination of Israeli brigadier general Erez Gerstein in 1999 in southern Lebanon. (Screen capture)

The four had left the northern Israeli town of Metullah that morning for a South Lebanon village where an IDF unit of Druze soldiers was stationed. After stopping off at the home of a South Lebanon Army fighter who had been killed in fighting against Hezbollah, they set off back towards the Israeli border at the head of a convoy.

Erez Gerstein (YouTube screenshot)

The massive roadside bomb, disguised as a rock, exploded just 300 meters (roughly 1,000 feet) from a United Nations position.

Evacuation of the dead was complicated by the presence of additional, un-exploded bombs and gunfire from Hezbollah positions.

Israel and the SLA — a Lebanese Christian militia supported by Israel — fought Lebanese Muslim fighters led by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization for 15 years in a band of southern Lebanon along the border with Israel that Israel characterized as its “security zone” during those years.

Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.

The broadcast comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in recent months.

The Al-Manar footage was rebroadcast Wednesday by Israel’s Hadashot television news.

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