TEL AVIV (Jan. 24)
The Israelis-Lebanese border was quiet this morning following a call for a cease-fire by the United Nations Interim force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) yesterday. It was the first such call by UNIFIL since the UN forces replaced Israeli troops in south Lebanon last spring.
Meanwhile, life was returning to normal in Israel’s northern villages, including Kiryat Shemona, which were heavily bombarded by Palestinian terrorist rockets yesterday. All the schools were opened including the Kiryat Shemona school hit by a Katyusha rocket tearing a hole in its roof. The main topic of conversation in the town was the miracle that the children had gone into shelters moments before the rocket hit and exploded in a classroom.
UNIFIL officers approached both Israel and the terrorists with the request for the cease-fire after several days of heavy artillery barrages between the two sides. Israel lobbed over 1000 shells yesterday in the direction of A1 Aisha, where the terrorists are concentrated north of the Litani Rivers the Arnon area and the Rashidieh refugee camps where many terrorist bases are located. Israel denied that it shelled the port city of Tyre, despite a claim by the terrorists that this was done. During the night, the terrorists and the Christian militia exchanged artillery fire.
A senior Israeli source in the north said that Israel’s aim is to force the terrorists out of the villages in which they are now entrenched. Israel has announced it will not shell any village in which the village chiefs promise not to shelter terrorists. The Christian militia will patrol the villages to make sore that this promise is kept.
U.S. URGES MAXIMUM RESTRAINT.
In Washington, the State Department said today “We feel the United Nations played an indispensible role in bringing about a halt in the firing. It called open Israel, Lebanon and Syria today, of it did yesterday, to exercise maximum restraint” and to cooperate with the UN. State Department spokesman Hodding Carter said yesterday that the U.S. was “in-contact” with Israel, Lebanon and Syria. He said the U.S. was not communicating with the Palestine Liberation Organization on this problem because afros policy of not dealing with the PLO.
(At the UN in New York, Lebanon complained in a letter to Secretary General Kurt Waldheim about the Israeli shelling.)
Meanwhile, Israel has taken special security measures throughout the country following the death in Beirut Monday of All Hassan Salameh, the notorious Abu, Hassan, who engineered the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. Jerusalem is especially being put on alert since it is believed that the terrorists will try on act of terror to revenge Salameh’s death. When a bomb exploded in a car, which they blame on Israel.