TEL AVIV (Dec. 9)
Defense Minister Shimon Peres said today that Israel’s air strikes against terrorist strongholds in northern and southern Lebanon yesterday were a preventive action undertaken on the basis of accurate intelligence that murder and sabotage missions against Israel were being planned at those bases.
A military communique claimed that Israeli bombers scored direct hits on the headquarters of the Syrian-sponsored Al Saiqa terrorist organization near Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon killing a number of terrorists and demolishing the headquarters. Another direct hit was scored on a parking lot where a large number of vehicles belonging to terrorist organizations were destroyed or damaged, the communique said.
The air attack near Tripoli in northern Lebanon was aimed against headquarters of George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other terrorist organizations located there, Israel said. While acknowledging that a schoolhouse was demolished at Nabatiyeh, Israel claimed the building was no longer used as such but served as Al Saiqa headquarters.
Israel’s communiques today were apparently in response to Lebanese claims that the air attacks killed up to 100 civilians in Palestinian refugee camps and wounded a similar number, Israel insisted that the action was not ordered in retaliation for the recent murder of three Israeli students by terrorist infiltrators at the Golan Heights settlement of Ramat Magshimim or to mollify public opinion at home in view of the recent series of anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian resolutions in the UN.