JERUSALEM (Dec. 15)
Israeli forces failed a terrorist attempt to infiltrate across the Lebanese border last night. One terrorist was killed and an Israeli soldier was wounded in a brief exchange of fire near the border settlement of Zarit in western Galilee. According to Israeli officials, the infiltrators reached the border through territory controlled by a Dutch battalion of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
However, the same force disarmed and turned back three other terrorist groups making for the Israeli border at about the some time. They were ousted from the UNIFIL zone. Meanwhile, three Lebanese villagers were killed by a land mine in the area controlled by Maj. Sood Hoddod’s Christian forces. The latter retaliated by shelling Palestine Liberation Organization strongholds in the coastal towns of Sidon and Tyre.
Last night’s incidents were cited by Premier Menachem Begin at a meeting this morning with Gen. Erkki Kaira, commander of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) The meeting, arranged some time ago, was a courtesy call by the Finnish officer on Begin in his capacity of Defense Minister. Israeli sources said their discussion was of a general nature.
Kaira questioned Begin about his visit to the U.S. last month and his impressions of the new American Administration. He was quoted as citing the cooperation between UNTSO and the Israeli army. This has not always gone smoothly but there seems to have been on improvement lately.
UNTSO is also trying to improve its relations with Haddad. Kaira lunched with the Christian commander recently. Israeli sources reported increased tension between UNIFIL forces and PLO units in south Lebanon. They said there has been a sharp rise in clashes and other incidents between them and a concomitant decline in the number of incidents between UNIFIL and Hoddod’s “de-facto forces.”