Israeli warplanes attacked Palestinian guerrilla bases at Sidon and Beirut on Wednesday, killing at least six people, including a man identified as a senior PLO commander.
A family of six and three other people were missing and feared dead under the rubble in Miye ou Miye, a refugee camp outside Sidon that suffered the greatest damage. Police said 41 people were wounded, all but one at Miye ou Miye.
Jets struck the targets outside the southern port of Sidon and at the capital 4 1/2 hours apart in the third and fourth raids since a suicide Shia Muslim car bomber killed eight Israeli soldiers a week ago in Israel’s self-proclaimed security zone in southern Lebanon.
At least 27 people have been killed and 16 wounded in the four raids, which bring the total number of Israeli air strikes in Lebanon this year to 19. Casualties in all the raids, by police count, have been at least 95 killed and 184 wounded.
“The raid near Sidon is one of the heaviest, if not the heaviest, in Lebanon this year,” said a police spokesman, whose name cannot be used because of Lebanese regulations. He said the attack caused “the most severe destruction in Miye ou Miye since the 1982 Israeli invasion.”
Among those killed in the refugee camp was Col. Mustafa Daoud, 40, commander of the Fatah Militia, a guerrilla group of about 1,000 fighters from the mainstream Fatah faction led by Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, police said.
Most of the wounded were guerrillas and included Col. Mohsen Hallak, commander of the 1,000-man Jerusalem Battalion, another PLO unit, the police spokesman reported. He said some others were officers of Force 17, the PLO security service.
The police spokesman said at least 30 buildings within a 150-yard radius in Miye ou Miye’s central square were pulverized and that many victims, including a family of six living in an abandoned United Nations-supported school, were still buried in the rubble.
Base Near a Monastery
Police said the second Israeli raid, in mid-afternoon, struck bases of pro-Syrian Palestinian factions in the hills of Khalde and Aramoun on Beirut’s southern fringe. They described the main target as a base behind a hilltop monastery overlooking the towns of Damour and Naame, midway along the coastal highway between Beirut and Sidon, which is about 25 miles south of the capital.
In southern Lebanon, Israeli soldiers and their Lebanese militia allies poured artillery fire on Lebanese rebel positions in and around Mashgharah, police reported.