Israeli forces and allied Lebanese militiamen withdrew to the Israeli-occupied security zone Saturday after a 24-hour search operation for guerrillas in southern Lebanon, police said.
Riding in 29 tanks and armored vehicles, about 250 Israeli troops and militiamen of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army pulled back to Israel’s self-proclaimed security zone before dawn after searching a 24-square-mile area for guerrillas.
Five Lebanese citizens were wounded during the sweep, and at least 15 houses in the villages of Mimess and Ain Ata were severely damaged by shelling, a police official said. The official, who spoke on condition he not be identified by name, did not say how the five were injured.
The search, which was carried out just south of Syrian army lines in the western sector of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, was launched Friday, hours after an Israeli army patrol foiled an infiltration attempt inside the security zone, killing three guerrillas.