TEL AVIV (Aug. 21)
Israeli air force planes in a pre-dawn attack this morning hit Arab terrorist bases near Beirut in retaliation for the attack on EI AI personnel in London yesterday. The planes hit the terrorist base of Damour, south of Beirut, which has become headquarters for the terrorists in the Beirut area, and a training center located near the refugee camp of Bourj el Brajnel. The attack, which started at 4 a.m., lasted several minutes. All Israeli planes returned to their base safely.
The air raid was in line with the government’s announced policy to hit terrorists any time they strike at Israel. Premier Menachem Begin said yesterday, shortly after learning of the atrocity in London, that the terrorist attack is “a barbaric act and there are no humane words with which to express the relationship to those who commit such murderous acts on men and women.” The Premier kept in constant touch by telephone with Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Transport Minister Meir Amit.
Damour was formerly a Christian town which was captured by Moslems and Palestinians during the Lebanese civil war. It was turned into a central base for the terrorists. Bourj el Brajnel is a major depot for arms and ammunition as well as a training center for members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the group which claimed responsibility for the London attack. Because of the early hour, the raid came as a surprise. But terrorist-operated radios yesterday were advising women and children to leave the camps after the London attack was reported.
(In Washington, State Department spokesman Tom Reston today condemned both yesterday’s attack in London and today’s reprisal raid into Lebanon. He said “we deplore this cycle of violence.” Referring to the attack in London, Reston said, “This is a deplorable and savage act of terrorism that brought death and injury to innocent persons. We condemn the act and its perpetrators.”