Israeli warplanes and helicopters attacked guerrilla strongholds in Lebanon today in retaliation for a bombing that killed seven Israeli soldiers. Fifteen people were killed and 35 wounded in the raids, police said.
The jets scored direct hits on ammunition dumps and training bases of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, or Party of God, and Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, said a police spokesman in Lebanon.
On Thursday, Israel’s leaders vowed to retaliate against Hezbollah, which claimed responsibility for killing the Israeli soldiers Wednesday.
The police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 12 Israeli fighter-bombers were involved in simultaneous air strikes near Sidon, provincial capital of south Lebanon, and in the eastern town of Mashgharah.
Helicopter gunships later joined the attack on Mashgharah, police said.
Eight people were killed and 15 wounded in the Sidon area, and seven were killed and 15 wounded in Mashgharah, the spokesman said.
He said clouds of black smoke hung over the stricken bases on the outskirts of Sidon, 25 miles south of Beirut, and Mashgharah, 15 miles to the east.
The Israeli military command said the raids occurred about 10 a.m. and were aimed at “Palestinian targets in the Sidon area and Hezbollah command posts in the villages of Mashgharah and Al Luwayzah.”
The village of Al Luwayzah is about two miles southeast of Metulla, where the car bombing occurred.
Lebanese police said an ammunition depot belonging to Hezbollah was hit near the Palestinian refugee camp of Miye ou Miye, on the outskirts of Sidon, and set off a series of explosions.
A Palestinian guerrilla training base was hit in Miye ou Miye, police said, and the planes also blasted targets in the nearby Ein el Hilwa refugee camp.
Warplanes fired at least 18 rockets into Mashgharah as the gunships strafed the town, police said.