TEL AVIV (May. 14)
The Chief of Staff of Israel’s Army claimed today that Tuesday’s 32-hour action against guerrilla bases in southern Lebanon had achieved its objectives. Gen. Haim Bar Lev warned however that the expedition’s success did not rule out the possibility of future terrorist attacks from the same territory. This cannot be prevented by a single operation, he told newsmen at a press conference here. Gen. Bar Lev said the dual objectives accomplished were to warn Lebanon and demonstrate that the prevention of terrorist activities from its territory was to its advantage; and to destroy guerrilla bases and disrupt their plans. He reported that 15 guerrillas were taken prisoner and about 30 were killed. Israeli forces captured about 250 new Russian-made Kalachnikof rifles, an ambulance used by El Fatah and a three-barrelled anti-aircraft gun which he described as a Russian version of the Hispano-Suiza AA gun.
Gen. Bar Lev disclosed that Israeli forces has carved a new road through the difficult terrain on southern Lebanon to provide a passage for their advancing tanks and conceded the road may now be used by the Lebanese or the guerrillas. He said Israelis fought a four-hour battle with guerrillas in one village and carried out a second round of searches in several other villages before their withdrawal yesterday. The Israeli border village of Kiryat Shemona, the focal point of recent guerrilla attacks that took three civilian lives, were treated to a military parade yesterday as Israeli troops returned from Lebanon. Crowds flocked into the main street to shower the soldiers with flowers, candy and ice cream sticks. Residents of Kiryat Shemona have been granted further income tax reductions by the Knesset Finance Committee. Each family will receive $210 reduction per month. compared with $125 for families in other exposed border settlements. Most families will thus be completely tax-exempt. The Finance Committee acted after another resident of the settlement was killed by Katyusha rocket fire over the weekend. It also cited the village’s economic hardship.