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Israel in Preventive Attacks on Terrorist Strongholds to Deter Them from Scuttling New Agreement

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Israel Air Force jets attacked terrorist targets on the Lebanese coast north of Tyre at noon today following up attacks last night on terrorist strongholds in the Fatahland sector of southeastern Lebanon. A military spokesman said both air strikes were of several minutes’ duration and that all planes returned safely to their bases.

Israeli patrols carried out a combing operation for terrorists inside the Lebanese borders today. Lebanese sources said Israeli artillery shelled several villages during the night. A number of shells from an unidentified source were fired at the Har Dov section in Israeli territory last night but caused no casualties.

The air strikes and other actions by Israeli forces were described by military sources as preventive operations intended to keep the terrorists from carrying out sabotage and attacks on civilian centers in Israel. The terrorists have proclaimed their aim to sabotage the new interim agreement reached between Israel and Egypt.

SEPTEMBER IS A DANGEROUS MONTH

That, and the fact that September has always been a month of heavy terrorist activity, prompted Israel to maintain a high state of alert in the northern border region. Police and civil guards have been re-enforced by army units and border police but the alert has not interfered with normal life in the border area.

September is considered a dangerous month because it includes certain anniversaries which the terrorists try to dramatize by committing new outrages. These include the so-called “Black September” of 1970 when Jordanian forces expelled the terrorists from their territory; the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in September 1972; and the anniversary of the death of Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser, still a hero to many terrorists. September is also a month of Jewish holidays when increased travel on the roads offer tempting targets for terrorist attacks on civilians.

The new interim agreement between Israel and Egypt has already drawn a hostile reception from Palestinian terrorist groups and their supporters in the Middle East. PLO chieftain Yasir Arafat denounced the pact as an American move to “divide the Arab ranks and exploit the time for Israel and strike the Palestinian resistance.” Zuheir Mohsen, leader of the Syrian-sponsored Saiqa terrorist group, said that the agreement was aimed at preventing progress on other fronts. He claimed that Egyptian-Palestinian relations would be “very bad until further notice.” The Marxist Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine denounced “the Egyptian policy of retreat.”

CIVILIAN SHARPSHOOTERS BEING TRAINED

Meanwhile, Israel is training a corps of civilian sharpshooters, ranging in age from 25-60 to guard against terrorist attacks in heavily populated urban areas. The units are composed of army veterans and others who have excelled in sharpshooting competition and they will train others. The aim of civil defense commanders is to raise the level of shooting among the civil guard which operates under the authority of local police chiefs.

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