TEL AVIV (Apr. 14)
Israel’s commando raid into southern Lebanon Friday was described by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan as a “political, not a military action.” He said the purpose was not revenge for the massacre of 18 men, women and children in Kiryat Shemona Thursday but to warn the Lebanese authorities that it is their responsibility to keep the border regions clear of terrorists.
The Israeli force, encountering no opposition, raided six Lebanese villages, demolished buildings after clearing out their inhabitants and took ten prisoners, including a gendarme, for questioning as possible terrorist collaborators. An Israeli spokesman said no shots were fired during the entire operation and no one was hurt.
(Lebanese authorities claimed that a mother and daughter were found dead in the rubble of a demolished building. Yesterday, Lebanon called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council tomorrow to deal with the raid. UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, who denounced the Kiryat Shemona massacre Thursday said yesterday that he “consistently condemned such acts of violence” as the Israeli raid into Lebanon.)
PART OF LEBANON WILL BE DEVASTATED
Acting Chief of Staff Gen. Yitzhak Hoff said yesterday that the Israeli commandos struck at the villages of Duheira, Yarin, Eitarun, Blieds, Muhabeib and Taibeh. He said that in all but the last named only one to four buildings were demolished. In Taibeh, where the Kiryat Shemona terrorists were believed to have received shelter before infiltrating across the Israeli border, an entire block of ten buildings was blown up. The Taibeh water pumping station was also destroyed.
The Lebanese authorities, apparently anticipating the raid, withdrew their soldiers from the region. Dayan said at a press conference yesterday that the Lebanese authorities must understand that normal life will be impossible in the border region as long as terrorists continue to find shelter there. “Israel will not assume the policing tasks of Lebanon,” Dayan said.
“Israel will not go looking for the headquarters of Jibril’s gang. This is the function of the Lebanese government and apparently they know well where Jibril’s people are.” He was referring to Ahmed Jibril. leader of the terrorist unit Popular Front-General Command–that carried out the Kiryat Shemona massacre. Israel will continue to hit the terrorists wherever they are, Dayan promised, adding that if the Lebanese authorities do not get the message, “a good part of Lebanon will be devastated.”