TEL AVIV (Jun. 25)
Five high ranking Syrian intelligence officers captured by an Israeli patrol inside Lebanon near the Israeli border Wednesday have admitted they were on a joint military mission with Lebanese officers, Chief of Staff Gen. David Elazar disclosed today. He said the admissions belied claims from Beirut and Damascus that the officers were merely sight-seeing and were “kidnapped” by the Israelis.
He said the officers revealed that they were on a joint reconnaissance mission aimed at pinpointing targets in Israel. Gen. Elazar coupled his disclosure with a warning to Lebanon to block further terrorist activities against Israel from Lebanese soil. He said that unless the Beirut authorities take drastic action Israel will continue to take whatever measures it deemed necessary.
On Friday night an Israeli naval patrol encountered and sank a boatload of terrorists off the Lebanese town of Tzor. Gen. Elazar dismissed claims by the Lebanese authorities that they were unaware of the existence of terrorist training camps in Lebanon. He said Lebanon is an eager host to the terrorists. Their headquarters are located in Lebanon and conditions still exist in that country which allow the terrorists to train for their missions, he said. Referring to the three Japanese “kamikaze” gunmen who killed 26 and wounded more than 70 in the Lydda Airport massacre May 30, Gen. Elazar said he knew exactly where they had “trained, ate and slept” in Lebanon prior to embarking on their assassination mission.
(Reports from London yesterday said Lebanon might try to avert further retaliatory action by Israel by modifying its Cairo agreement with the Palestinian guerrillas. The agreement gave the terrorists leave to use Lebanon as a staging area for incursions against Israel but not to fire at Israeli targets from Lebanese soil. The agreement is not likely to be abrogated, given the internal political conditions in Lebanon, but there is strong pressure on the Beirut authorities to get the terrorists to leave Lebanon for another Arab country once they have completed their training, the reports said.)