TEL AVIV (Jan. 15)
Several Israeli army units crossed into Lebanon last night in a search for Arab terrorists for the third time in the past four days. Eight Israeli soldiers were slightly injured in the operation when hand grenades were thrown at them from a house in Shuba village. The search action began immediately after darkness came. One unit which entered Shuba and began a house-to-house search came under fire. The soldiers assaulted the houses from which the shooting came and demolished them. Another unit blew up a culvert on a road north of Shuba to hamper the movement of terrorists in the area.
The grenade incident took place when the soldiers heard loud voices of women from one of the Shuba houses and called on the inhabitants to come out. When they did, the Israelis approached them and, at that moment, hand grenades were thrown at the soldiers and the women, injuring the eight soldiers. Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Chief of Staff Gen. Mordechai Gur watched the operations from an advance command post in northern Israel.
Smaller Israeli units blocked the roads near Shuba and others served as cover to the main Israeli force, the heaviest yet against “Fatahland.” Observers at vantage points said many of the villagers were fleeing northward from Shuba, pulling carts with household articles with them. Peres said today in Haifa that Israeli operations in Lebanon were planned with maximum care to hit the terrorists and exert pressure on Lebanon to control them without undermining the delicate political balance in Lebanon.
Military officials reported today that during the clash last night, five Lebanese citizens–a father, three sons and an elderly villager–were stopped at a road-block on the route to Shuba and removed to prevent them from being caught in the cross-fire. The five were taken to Israel by the soldiers after the operation and will be released soon to return to Lebanon.