Israeli jets bombed Palestinian positions in eastern Lebanon today and Muslim-Christian artillery battles spread from Beirut to about 40 outlying towns. At least 18 dead were reported nationwide.
In the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley, Israeli jets raided positions of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Palestinian sources and witnesses said at least 15 guerrillas and civilians were killed.
The jets struck in retaliation for a series of guerrilla raids against Israel, and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin told reporters in Jerusalem, “I believe that those who deserved to get it, got it.”
The air raids in the Dalhamieh area, near the town of Rayak a few miles from the Syrian border and 35 miles east of Beirut, hit the house of a Lebanese family who were buried under the rubble, witnesses said.
The jets also hit two Popular Front buildings--a military vehicle repair workshop and a single-story administration compound--and a building of the Marxist Democratic Front.
It was Israel’s fourth raid in Lebanon this year.
Security and hospital sources said at least three people were killed and 30 wounded by Muslim-Christian shelling which rocked mountain towns and coastal neighborhoods, spreading panic among civilians.
Most Dead Civilians
The shelling in and around Beirut between Muslim Druze fighters and mainly Christian troops of Maj. Gen. Michel Aoun was the most intense since last Tuesday, when 43 people were killed and 150 wounded, most of them civilians.
Security sources and Red Cross workers said the ferocity of the shelling made an accurate casualty figure impossible to obtain.
But they said two people were known to have been killed in Beirut and one in the mountains, and predicted the casualty toll would rise.
As the barrage spread, it hit areas which had been spared civil war for more than five years.
Shells hit the Khalde junction, south of Beirut, which is a main supply route for Syrian troops deployed in West Beirut and thundered in mountain and coastal areas over 90 square miles.
Druze security sources said the artillery barrages closed the main highway linking Beirut to Damascus, but a road through the Shouf mountains to the south was still open.