In response to questions on why the soldiers who were killed in Wednesday’s Hezbollah rocket attack on the Lebanese border were riding in unarmored vehicles, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Army Radio on Thursday that any armored vehicle, except a Merkava tank, would have been destroyed by the Kornet anti-tank missiles used in the attack.
“In the case of this type of missile, an armored vehicle also would not have protected [the soldiers], unless it was a Merkava tank,” Ya’alon said. Another defense official was quoted saying that it was doubtful an armored vehicle without an active protection system, such as the IDF’s Trophy system, would be able to withstand those missiles and added that in some cases armor could have resulted in more damage to the soldiers inside.
Ya’alon also confirmed that the Israeli defense establishment received messages from Lebanon, via a third party, that they consider Wednesday’s incident over and behind them. “We did receive a message. There are lines of communication used to coordinate between us and Lebanon, and we got the message,” Ya’alon said.
The vehicles hit in Wednesday’s attack were an Isuzu pickup truck and unarmored jeep — vehicles sent to the area in light of the tension on the border. Some called the use of unarmored vehicles near the border during times of tension a failure. However a defense official said it would be wrong to draw the conclusion so early.
The IDF said the vehicles were hit 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) inside Israel, on a road that is used by both military and civilian vehicles. “These are joint army/civilian roads, we cannot simply take the north and move it 50 meters back,” the defense official said.
The Russian advanced Kornet anti-tank missile has a range of 5 kilometers and was employed in numbers Hezbollah against Israeli armor during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.