TEL AVIV (Jun. 22)
Israeli forces were on the alert today for possible retaliatory action by Syria over the capture of five high-ranking Syrian intelligence officers by an Israeli patrol in the “Fatahland” region of Lebanon yesterday. Israeli sources noted that the Damascus regime usually reacts to any blow to its prestige. The intelligence section is one of the most important branches of the Syrian government.
One of the captured officers, Adham Alouani, originally identified as a Col., turned out to be a Brig. Gen. The others hold the ranks of Col. and Lt. Col. A Lebanese intelligence Capt. was also captured. They were seized after a brief clash between a Lebanese convoy escorting the Syrians and the Israeli patrol which met head on on a road near Ramiyah village. A Lebanese soldier was fatally wounded and his body was returned to Lebanon today. A Syrian officer who resisted was wounded and hospitalized in Israel. His condition was reported serious but not dangerous.
As of today the Red Cross has not approached Israel over the Syrian prisoners. The officers are being held as POWs. When captured they were in full uniform with insignia of rank and decorations. They are believed to have been on a joint Syrian-Lebanese reconnaissance mission against Israel.
The border was quiet this morning. Lebanese farmers were seen working their crops as usual. But the guards were strengthened at Israeli frontier settlements and military re-enforcements patroled the area.