Israelis Kill 9 Suspected Guerrillas in S. Lebanon Raids

From Times Wire Services

Israeli troops killed nine suspected guerrillas, destroyed houses and seized weapons and explosives in raids Saturday on five Shia Muslim villages in southern Lebanon, the Israeli army and U.N. officials said.

Israel's military command in Tel Aviv also said an unspecified number of people "suspected of planning and carrying out attacks against our forces" were detained. Independent reports said as many as 150 people were arrested.

The military said the raids focused on the villages of Sir el Gharbiye, Borj Rahhal and Tura, all located around the seaport of Tyre. It did not say how many Israeli troops were involved in the crackdown.

A spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, Timor Goksel, said Israeli troops supported by armored vehicles and bulldozers also raided two other villages near Tyre. Security sources said Israel closed front-line crossing points Satur

Retaliation Raids

The Israeli action coincided with new attacks by the guerrillas, most of whom are Shia Muslims.

The Israeli raids brought to 13 the number of operations launched by the Israeli army in 15 days to clamp down on the so-called Lebanese National Resistance Front, a coalition of Muslim guerrillas opposed to Israel's occupation of the region.

Radio reports from southern Lebanon said the guerrillas launched at least seven hit-and-run attacks on Israeli positions around the port of Tyre. There were no immediate casualty reports.

The Israeli army said nine guerrillas were killed in two separate incidents.

"In the Sir el Gharbiye village, eight armed terrorists were killed and two captured during an escape attempt," a spokesman said.

"In Borj Rahhal, a carload of armed terrorists ran into (Israeli) fire. One was killed and the rest were captured," he said.

Security sources said a man was killed in Tura, but they gave no details, and the report was not immediately confirmed.

One Man Reported Killed

The Israelis said the houses destroyed in the raids either belonged to suspected guerrillas or were used to store weapons and explosives. They said two cars containing explosives were blown up.

Four of the villages had already been raided in the past two weeks by Israeli troops who searched and arrested scores of suspected guerrillas.

Israel provided no immediate reason for the latest raids, but the head of Israel's military liaison unit in southern Lebanon told Israel radio that "terror can only be fought with terror."

Brig. Shlomo Elia apparently was referring to the escalating wave of guerrilla attacks against units of Israel's occupation force, estimated to number 20,000.

Israeli troops last week left the port city of Sidon, 24 miles south of Beirut, and the surrounding area in the first phase of a three-stage withdrawal from Lebanon.

General Mobilization Called

In the wake of the raids, the Shia Muslim militia Amal called Saturday for a general mobilization against Israeli troops in occupied areas of southern Lebanon.

Amal leader Nabih Berri told a news conference, "Residents must lay ambushes and confront with arms enemy forces entering any township."

He said local schools would be closed until further notice and students should report for duty according to a secret plan. He banned youths from leaving areas still under Israeli occupation.

Berri accused Israel of seeking to oust Muslims from the border area and stir up trouble "to justify the resettlement of Christians in the strip north of the Israeli border." He said Israel had already expelled 400 people to Beirut since Thursday.

He gave all collaborators with Israel 15 days to leave or "surrender to the appropriate authorities . . . . There will be no settlement after this date," he said.

In Sidon, a man was found shot to death with a placard on his chest signed by the Lebanese National Resistance Front. It read: "This is the penalty of one who sold the land and honor to Israeli intelligence."

At least seven alleged collaborators have been killed since Israel withdrew from the area.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World