Tel Aviv (Apr. 16)
— Israel Air Force planes attacked terrorist bases on the Lebanese coast north of Tyre today and all aircraft returned safely to their bases, a military spokesman announced. The spokesmen said the latest raid was in line with Israel’s policy of striking terrorist bases in Lebanon to prevent attacks on Israel from being mounted at those bases.
Meanwhile, two terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israel on a hot air balloon were killed by Israeli troops this morning. The balloon was spotted by an army unit on routine patrol near Kibbutz Manera on the Lebanese border and was brought down by ground fire just inside Lebanon. Its occupants were killed after a brief chase. Documents found on the bodies, along with weapons, handgrenades and maps, indicated that their mission may have been to disrupt tourism in Israel during the Passover-Easter holiday this weekend.
Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan praised the swift action by the soldiers which, he said, proved the border patrols were effective and alert against all surprises. According to Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Zipori, Israel’s security forces are not surprised by any unorthodox means used by terrorists to attempt to infiltrate the country.
Last month a pair of terrorists was captured trying to cross the border in motorized hang gliders. Under interrogation they disclosed that they were trained for their mission at a top secret base near Homs in northwestern Syria. They said their training included practice with balloons as well as gliders and was observed by Soviet military advisors in civilian clothes. A previous attempt to enter Israel by balloon failed a year ago when the air bag exploded over Lebanon.