TEL AVIV (Jun. 8)
Substantial numbers of well armed terrorists have infiltrated south Lebanon and are hiding out pending the final withdrawal of Israeli farces next Tuesday, June 13, it was learned today. But some of them already have set up artillery positions in the eastern sector of south Lebanon known as Fatah land. The presence of about 150 terrorists in the area between the Litani River and the present Israeli lines has been confirmed.
They are lying low in orchards and groves and are assisted by leftist elements of the local population. The terrorists apparently evaded patrols of the United Nations Interim Froce in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by avoiding the bridges and fording the Litani at its shallow points under cover of darkness. They are bringing in arms the same way, the reports say.
PLAN TO REBUILD INFRASTRUCTURE
Israel, which now holds a six-mile-deep security belt along the Lebanese border, has promised the UN that all of its forces will be out of Lebanon by June 13. Security circles here are convinced that once Israeli troops are gone, the situation in south Lebanon will change. The terrorists are expected to re-enter villages and townships and begin to rebuild their infrastructure, including training centers, vehicle pools and arms caches which were destroyed when Israeli forces invaded south Lebanon last March.
Arms in large quantities are reported to be reaching the terrorists from Libya and Europe via the port of Tyre which they still hold. Supplies are also said to be coming in from Cyprus. Concentrations of terrorists reported in the Beaufort area are said to include hundreds of Iraqi soldiers disguised as members of the Arab Liberation Front.
CHRISTIAN VILLAGES ALARMED
The terrorists’ movements have aroused alarm in Christian villages in south Lebanon. The Israeli army corps of engineers has built a network of roods to enable Christian forces to move between their various enclaves. (In New York today, a spokesman for the Israeli Mission to the United Nations confirmed that Israel is seeking assurances from the UN for the safety of the Christian minority after Israeli troops pull out. The spokesman said Israel was concerned that the Christian villagers will become a target for reprisals by Palestinian terrorists.) Negotiations over Israeli requests were reportedly underway in Jerusalem between UN representatives and Israeli officials.
Another question bothering Israel is the possibility of Syrian forces in Lebanon deploying along the banks of the Litani. The Syrians might check terrorist activities but Israeli strategists do not want to see the Syrians in control of the Litani River bridges which are the key to the movement of combat farces southward to the Israeli border.