No Confirmation Syrians Removing Missiles, Israeli Army Says

Army sources said today they had no information to confirm reports by Christian Phalangist radio stations in Beirut that the Syrians had moved their SAM-6 missiles away from the Zahle area of Lebanon.

The reports followed an announcement that Lebanese army units had replaced Phalangist forces in the Syrian-surrounded town, which might have led to a lessening of tension. It was the presence of the missiles there, following the downing by Israeli planes of two Syrian helicopters, which had sparked the missile crisis.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin has threatened to remove the missiles by force if they are not removed through the quiet diplomacy undertaken by U.S. special envoy Philip Habib, who has temporarily halted his diplomatic efforts.

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