TEL AVIV (May. 13)
Israeli forces crossed the Lebanese border last night for the second time in 24 hours and brought back three persons suspected of collaborating with terrorists. The action followed a dragnet Sunday night in which five persons were brought back to Israel for questioning in connection with terrorist activities.
The border crossings and sweep through the area of southern Lebanon known as Fatahland was described as a preventive measure to foil possible terrorist plans for assaults on Israel this Thursday, May 15, the 27th anniversary of Israel’s independence. On that date last year, 25 Israelis including 21 high school students were killed in a terrorist attack on a school building in the border village of Maalot.
A military spokesman said the operations last night and Sunday night were carried out without any casualties or opposition from either Lebanese regulars or terrorist forces and that no damage or injuries were inflicted on the local population. The spokesman flatly denied a Lebanese report that Israeli soldiers blew up a village clinic.
The operation last night was confined to the village of Yitarun, about two-and-a-half kilometers north of the Israeli border. The eight prisoners taken in the two raids included a physician, a woman and a Communist leader. The latter was identified as Ahmed Murad of Bint-Jubeil village who was a candidate for the Lebanese Parliament on the Communist list for his region. One of the suspected collaborators taken in the Sunday night operation, a woman, was released today and returned to Lebanon upon completion of her investigation.
Security sources said today that an increase of terrorist movement in Fatahland has been observed in the past few days since the recent fighting between right-wing Lebanese Phalangists and Palestinian terrorists subsided. This has prompted special precautionary measures by Israel, the sources said. The measures include strengthening guards and patrols in border villages that are likely targets for terrorist attacks.