Associated Press, December 4, 1996

  JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli army confirmed Wednesday that an elite
  commando squad has been tracking Shiite Muslim guerrillas in southern
  Lebanon for two years.

  The acknowledgement followed foreign reports that Israeli commandos were
  deployed behind the lines in southern Lebanon and dozens of Hezbollah
  guerrillas had been killed in hand-to-hand combat with the unit, known as

  The London newspaper The Observer reported in May that the squad was
  indirectly responsible for triggering the April shelling of a U.N. base in
  the southern Lebanese town of Qana in which at least 91 civilians died.

  Egoz fighters had been scouting the Qana area to spot Hezbollah guerrillas
  firing rockets at Israel, when, fearing they had been detected, they
  radioed for help and were ordered to withdraw, the newspaper said. It said
  army commanders then ordered artillery to shell the area.

  Egoz, which means "walnut" in Hebrew, was also the name of a well-known
  Israeli commando unit in the 1960s.

  In an announcement Wednesday, the Israeli army said Egoz was established
  two years ago.

  The unit has been specially trained to combat the guerrilla group
  Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the army said.

  The Israeli army commander for northern Israel and southern Lebanon, Maj.
  Gen. Amiram Levine, presented the unit to Israeli military correspondents

  Speaking on Israel radio, Levine said two members of the unit have been
  killed since it was created.

  "What is special about this unit is that it concentrates exclusively on
  the fighting in Lebanon," Levine said.

  "Consequently, its professional level is much higher. It knows the area
  much better. It is capable of fighting in hill country, in thick
  undergrowth and in populated areas. It is also much more familiar with
  what kind of enemy the Hezbollah is and the way it fights."