== Combat history ==
The Merkava was used widely during the [[1982 Lebanon War]]. The tank outperformed Syrian tanks (mostly T-62s) and proved largely immune to anti-tank weapons of the time (the AT-3 Sagger and [[RPG-7]]) that were used against it. It was judged to be a significant improvement over Israel's previously most effective main battle tank at that time, the [[Centurion tank]].
In February 2002 a Merkava III was destroyed by roadside bomb near settlement in the Gaza Strip. The tank was lured into intervening in an attack on a settler convoy. When the tank went over a heavy mine it was detonated and the tank was totally destroyed. Four soldiers were killed in the blast. This was the first heavy tank to be destroyed during the [[Second Intifada]].ref A second Israeli tank, Merkava II or probably a Merkava III, was destroyed a month later in the same area and a further three soldiers were killed. A third Merkava II or III tank was destroyed near the [[Kissufim Crossing]], when one soldier was killed and two wounded.ref