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Israel Warplanes' Rockets Level Abu Nidal Base in S. Lebanon

June 17, 1989|From Reuters

RASHIDIYEH, Lebanon — Israeli fighter planes raided a base of a Libyan-backed radical Palestinian group in southern Lebanon on Friday, their second attack on guerrilla positions in three days.

Security sources said six U.S.-built Skyhawk warplanes fired three rockets into a three-room military base used by the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

The base was in the Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidiyeh, 45 miles south of Beirut.

Residents said ambulances evacuated four FRC guerrillas, but it was not known whether the four were dead or wounded. Two children, living in a nearby three-story building, were wounded, they said.

Witnesses said the low-flying planes scored direct hits on the FRC base on the southern edge of the camp, overlooking the Mediterranean. They said the base was flattened.

FRC guerrillas prevented photographers from taking pictures of the stronghold where witnesses said mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades and rifles could be seen amid the rubble.

The FRC is headed by Sabri Banna, known as Abu Nidal.

He is on the West's list of most-wanted people for alleged terrorist activities, including the assassination attempt of Israel's ambassador to London in 1982, which was followed by a massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

FRC officials in Beirut confirmed that their base was the target of the raid but denied it caused any casualties.

The jets flew into a hail of anti-aircraft fire, but an Israeli spokesman in Jerusalem reported that all planes returned safely after destroying "terrorist targets."

He said the base that was hit was used to launch attacks against Israel and its border security zone.

Friday's attack raised to eight the number of Israeli air strikes on Lebanon this year in which at least 22 people have been killed and more than 42 wounded.

On Wednesday, Israeli jets pounded Palestinian fortifications south of Beirut, killing four guerrillas and wounding nine.

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