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Heavy Fighting in South Lebanon Between Christians, Terrorists

Heavy fighting erupted over the weekend between Christians and terrorists in southern Lebanon. Seven Lebanese Christians, including Phalangist militiamen and civilians, were admitted to the government hospital at Safad yesterday for treatment of wounds. One Phalangist died and his body was returned to Lebanon through the open fence.

The battle raged around the Christian village of Klea which came under terrorist artillery and mortar fire from two sides. Several shells scored direct hits on the village. The terrorists were entrenched on the bend of the Litani River north of Klea and in Fatahland to the east where they are said to have massed Russian-made artillery. Christians who passed through the open fence Saturday said that many Moslems in Klea had joined in the fight against the terrorists.

Defense Minister Shimon Peres said at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that there was no truth to reports that Syrian forces have returned to southern Lebanon after evacuating Nabatiyeh village a week ago. Meanwhile, the first direct bus line linking Israel with southern Lebanon started service yesterday. It will carry Maronite Christians between Haifa and Klea and will also be available for Lebanese workers employed in Israel.