United Nations (Jan. 15)
– Secretary General Kurt Waldheim today appointed a three-member military board to investigate charges that Israeli troops mutilated the bodies of five Palestinian terrorists who were killed in south Lebanon Dec. 25, a UN spokesman announced here.
Israel, according to the Israeli spokesman at the UN, consented to the setting up of the board and is going to be “cooperative” in the course of the investigation.
According to Waldheim’s spokesman, the Secretary General decided to appoint the board of inquiry for the sake of “maximum objectivity” in clarifying the controversy between Israel and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) over the incident.
The three members of the board of inquiry appointed by Waldheim are Brig. Gen. Stig Waldenstrom of Sweden, Col. Osmo Karanka of Finland and Lt. Col. Brian Hanly of Canada.
Israel rejected from the start the charges regarding the mutilation of the bodies of the five terrorists. At the beginning of this week Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, sent a sharply worded letter to Waldheim rejecting UNIFIL’s version of the incident and sharply criticizing the way the UN handled the whole affair. Sources here pointed out that Waldheim’s decision to appoint the board of inquiry followed Blum’s letter.