TEL AVIV (Dec. 21)
One person was killed and nine were injured in a Katyusha rocket attack on the border town of Kiryat Shemona this morning by terrorists in south Lebanon. The dead man was identified as David Marciano, a young security guard from Safad who was on duty in Kiryat Shemona. The injured included an elderly woman and four children. The latter were extricated from the debris of a house that had sustained a direct hit but suffered only minor injuries. Israeli artillery opened fire on terrorist positions in Lebanon.
The injured were treated at Safad Hospital where all but three were subsequently released. One person was reported in serious condition after undergoing surgery.
The attack on Kiryat Shemona was the first since Israeli forces withdrew from south Lebanon last June and were replaced by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The rocket barrage began without warning at 7 a.m. local time when many children were on their way to school. Damage to buildings was estimated at IL 3 million. A report from Beirut this morning said the Palestine Liberation Organization claimed responsibility for the attack which it said was in retaliation for yesterday’s Israel Air Force strike on terrorist bases and training centers in south Lebanon.
AIR STRIKE TERMED LEGITIMATE SELF-DEFENSE
Premier Menachem Begin told reporters at a Foreign Press Association luncheon in Jerusalem today that the air strike was a legitimate act of self-defense in the aftermath of a new wave of terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel, three of them in Jerusalem this week alone. According to military spokesmen, the air attack was not motivated by any one specific act but by reports that the terrorists were preparing at the bases in Lebanon for new attacks on Israel.
In retaliation for the attack on Kiryat Shemona, Israeli artillery shelled terrorist positions at Nabatiyah, just north of the Litani River and Kaukaba on the western slopes of Mt. Hermon. A report from Beirut said the residents of Nabatiyah took to shelters and the town was sealed off from traffic and deserted.
TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES AROUND JERUSALEM
Meanwhile, security measures were tightened in and around Jerusalem we the 14th and 15th terrorist attacks in one month occurred yesterday injuring nine persons. Three of them were injured last night when a hand grenade thrown over the Old City wall exploded in the middle of a crowd near Herod’s Gate. One of the injured was identified as Paul White, 27, a British volunteer at Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon. Earlier in the day, four Arabs and two Jews were injured when a bomb exploded outside an Arab-owned butcher’s shop near Jaffa Gate. On Sunday, 22 persons were injured when a bomb exploded on a No. 12 bus in the predominantly Orthodox suburb of Bayit Vegan.
Today, special security units patroled East and West Jerusalem using trained dogs and modern detecting devices to search for concealed explosives. Several dozen Arabs arrested and questioned after yesterday’s bombings, were released today.
DEMANDS FOR PROTECTION
The bus bombing has aroused angry demands for protection by the residents of Bayit Vegan. Some 300 persons demonstrated there last night, insisting that the No. 12 bus route that begins in East Jerusalem be split. The route, one of the longest in the city, has been a frequent target of terrorist bombs. The residents of Bayit Vegan are demanding that the buses be stopped after leaving East Jerusalem to be searched for explosives before continuing through Jewish neighborhoods.
A much larger demonstration occurred in Bayit Vegan Sunday night when Mayor Teddy Kollek, inspecting the bombed-out bus, was nearly mobbed by furious residents. Kollek had opposed splitting the No. 12 route on grounds that it would be tantamount to surrender to the terrorists’ aim of disrupting the normal life of the city. But after a meeting with Premier Menachem Begin on the problem, Kollek said he would no longer be guided by political factors but only by considerations of security.
Begin appointed his close associate, Minister-Without-Portfolio Haim Landau, to study the problems of the No. 12 route in cooperation with Kollek, other municipal officials and representatives of the Egged bus cooperative. It was reported today that Landau is opposed to splitting the route but favors the establishment of an alternative bus route that would operate only within western Jerusalem.
According to security sources, the terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel this past month alone took a toll of four lives and more than 60 persons injured.