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Guerrillas, Israeli Army Clash in South Lebanon

October 30, 1994| From Associated Press

NABATIYEH, Lebanon — Iranian-backed guerrillas attacked an Israeli post in an occupied strip of south Lebanon on Saturday and claimed to have overrun it and set it ablaze. The fighting touched off artillery battles.

The Israeli army said one Israeli soldier was killed and two were wounded. Security sources in south Lebanon, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one Lebanese civilian was killed and 13 people were wounded, including five Israeli soldiers.

It was the fourth straight day of fighting in south Lebanon, the last active war front in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The escalation of hostilities was seen as a message that Arab extremists remain determined to block peace treaties with Israel.

A few hours after the morning assault near the village of Dabshe, guerrillas of the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah, or Party of God, fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an Israeli patrol in Aishiyeh, 1 1/2 miles to the north, inside the Israelis' self-designated security zone.

The security sources said there were no casualties in the second attack.

The recent spate of violence flared Wednesday, when Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in a ceremony attended by President Clinton, who ended his six-country, peace-promoting swing through the region early Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

Israel's environment minister, Yossi Sarid, said it was possible that Syria, the undisputed power in Lebanon, "is convinced that aggression by Hezbollah . . . will be useful to Syria in the negotiations . . . and perhaps even lead to Israeli concessions."

"But such acts only lead to a hardening of Israeli positions," Sarid told Israel Army Radio.

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