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Paratroopers Kill Three Guerrillas Near Lebanon Border, Israel Says

From Times Wire Services

Israeli paratroopers killed three guerrillas Monday in a clash just north of the Israeli-Lebanese border, the army and Israel Army Radio said.

The Israeli troops sustained no casualties, the reports said.

In Beirut, the radical Revolutionary Council of Fatah, headed by Abu Nidal, said in a communique that the guerrillas had crossed the border into northern Israel before dawn and “wiped out a unit of Israeli guards” in a shoot-out that lasted several hours. It did not say what happened to the infiltrators.

The Israeli army command said a patrol spotted the guerrilla squad during the night several yards north of the border and opened fire, killing the three guerrillas.

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Soldiers found automatic rifles, ammunition, anti-tank rocket launchers, leaflets and other equipment near the bodies of the guerrillas, the army said. It gave no other details.

Israel Army Radio said the soldiers who took part in the clash were from an elite paratrooper brigade and that the guerrillas apparently were on their way to stage a hostage-taking operation in Israel.

The clash was in Israel’s self-proclaimed security zone, a buffer strip north of the border carved out in 1985 when Israel withdrew the bulk of its troops from Lebanon. The zone is patrolled by Israeli soldiers and the South Lebanon Army, an Israeli-backed, Christian-led militia.

Meanwhile, three Palestinian guerrillas on their way to mount an attack in Israel drowned when their dinghy capsized in heavy seas off the Lebanese coast, Palestinian sources said Monday.

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