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4 Killed as Israeli Jets Hit Lebanon

July 15, 1986|Associated Press

AINAB, Lebanon — Israeli jets rocketed and bombed Palestinian guerrilla targets in hills southeast of Beirut on Monday in apparent retaliation for rocket attacks on northern Israel. The raid killed four people and wounded 12, officials said.

Police and the International Red Cross reported in separate communiques that two Palestinian fighters were killed and 12 people were wounded during the 30-minute, late-morning raid on the hill towns of Aitat, Baissour, Shimlan and Ainab.

Druze spokesmen said later that two Druze militiamen were also killed. The Druze, who dominate the Ainab region, are a secretive offshoot of Islam.

Premier Rashid Karami charged that the attack was aimed at sabotaging a Beirut security plan launched under Syrian auspices two weeks ago to reinstate government authority in the capital.

500 Syrians in W. Beirut

Syria has sent about 500 troops to West Beirut to help enforce the plan, intended to end a 27-month reign of Muslim militias characterized by assassinations, kidnapings and bank robberies.

A squadron of 10 F-15 and two Phantom F-4 fighter-bombers delivered their payloads in five passes over targets in the mountains about 12 miles southeast of Beirut, police said.

Palestinian guerrillas and Druze militiamen fired shoulder-held, Soviet-made ground-to-air missiles at the jets as they streaked overhead. But the Israeli pilots "fooled" the heat-seeking projectiles by releasing decoy devices, according to police.

The Israeli command in Tel Aviv said its pilots reported "accurate hits . . . (on an) area of terrorist concentrations" and said all planes returned safely.

The raid appeared aimed at Syrian-backed Palestinian factions active in the region.

Attacks on Galilee

It followed overnight rocket attacks on Israel's northern Galilee region. Israeli military sources, demanding anonymity, confirmed an Israel radio report of the attacks but said no injuries or damage resulted.

Palestinian guerrillas periodically fire Soviet-made Katyusha rockets into Galilee from bases in Lebanon.

One building destroyed in Ainab was an office of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine headed by George Habash. The three-story stone house was left flattened and smoldering.

About 80 yards away, a four-story structure used by the Moscow-oriented Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine was a heap of rubble.

Two Guerrillas Killed

In a communique, the Marxist Popular Front reported that one fighter--Ahmed Moghrabi, 26--was killed and two were wounded. The Democratic Front reported one guerrilla killed and four wounded.

Police said a three-story building used as a command post by Abu Moussa's guerrillas, a breakaway faction of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah group, was destroyed by several rocket hits in Baissour.

The Democratic and Popular Fronts and the Abu Moussa group are backed by Syria. They are allied with Lebanese militiamen of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party.

2nd Raid in 5 Days

Monday's was Israel's second air strike in Lebanon in five days and the fifth this year. All were directed against Palestinian targets.

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