Israeli-Backed Militia Returns Guerrilla Fire

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Iranian-backed guerrillas lobbed Katyusha rockets into Israel and its self-proclaimed security zone in south Lebanon on Saturday, drawing artillery fire from Israeli-affiliated militiamen.

Security sources said no casualties were reported in the exchanges, which began late Friday and continued into Saturday morning.

In Israel, the army command said a barrage of Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon struck the Galilee panhandle Friday and another hit Saturday.

There were no casualties in the attacks, but the second barrage caused some damage, mainly broken glass.


The security sources in Lebanon, speaking on condition they not be identified, said guerrillas of Hezbollah, or Party of God, lobbed at least 60 Soviet-designed rockets into the security zone.

The bombardment kept most of the region’s estimated 200,000 residents huddled in basements and bomb shelters.

The rockets, the sources said, were fired from the vicinity of Yater, a traditional Hezbollah stronghold above the security zone. They hit and damaged a number of houses in the towns of Marjayoun, Khiam and Ibl as Saqi.

Gunners of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army pounded the terrain north of the zone with 130-millimeter howitzers.

The duels followed an attack Friday by Israeli helicopters in which a one-story house used by Hezbollah members was destroyed. No one was hurt in the attack.

Earlier Friday, three militiamen of the South Lebanon Army were wounded in an ambush by unidentified guerrillas.

The latest round of violence between Israel and the South Lebanon Army on the one hand, and Hezbollah and its allies on the other, is now in its third week.