Terrorist Activities Curbed by Israeli Air Strikes

Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, Chief of Military Intelligence, said today that Israel has evidence that its air strikes against terrorist targets in south Lebanon aborted at least 80 percent of planned terrorist activities against Israel in recent weeks. He said that groups of terrorists, trained and equipped with weapons, had been given the green light for assaults against Israel. But their departure was forestalled.

Referring to last week’s air battle between Israeli and Syrian Jets when the latter attempted to interfere with an Israeli attack on terrorist strong holds, Saguy noted that Syrian forces are deployed along a line from Zaharani on the Mediterranean coast to Kfar Mashki in the east. The last Israeli action was some 10 kilometers south of Zaharani. He said that if the Syrians do not seek another encounter there will be none but if they try to interfere with Israeli activity or move south from their present positions north of the Litani River, there is a very great possibility of more encounters.

According to Saguy, Israel has no confirmation of reports that the Syrians have brought SAM-6 anti-aircraft missile batteries into Lebanon. On the other hand, the SAM-7 or “Strella” type shoulder-launched missiles are to be found everywhere in south Lebanon and are used by terrorists, he said.

It was learned, meanwhile, that the scheduled visit to Moscow by President Hafez Assad of Syria has been postponed, probably because of the internal troubles in Syria. Assad is believed to be seeking Soviet support or at least approval of the Iraqi-Syrian political union.

Saguy spoke of possible clashes on Israel’s eastern front where, he said, Jordan would have to be a dominant component of any Arab force. But so for Jordon has not decided whether to join with the Syrians and Iraqis. Iraq constitutes the most serious potential danger, he said, as it is the only Arab country that has doubled the size of its army since the Yom Kippur War.

Saguy said that Iraq which had six divisions in 1973 now has II divisions and can easily send six divisions as an expeditionary force to the Israeli front. Saguy said the change of regime in Iran made such a move easier for Iraq inasmuch as the Islamic authorities in Teheran would give their blessing to any act against Israel.

Referring to Saudi Arabia, the intelligence chief said it was ominous that the Saudis should position the bulk of their armored corps at Tabuk only 150 kilometers from Israel, when logically, it should be stationed near the border with South Yemen.

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