Tel Aviv (Jul. 16)
Israel launched massive air attacks on Palestinian terrorist targets in Lebanon today following the terrorist rocket barrage which killed three persons and wounded 13 in Nahariya yesterday and wounded 12 more in Kiryat Shemona. Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Zipori warned settlers in northern Israel that they must consider themselves to be in the “front line” alongside the soldiers stationed there.
Military sources described the rocket attack as the heaviest since the Yom Kippur War. United Nations sources said yesterday that more than 120 rockets rained down on Kiryat Shemona and Nahariya and in areas between the two towns. Today a UN spokesman revised the figure on the number of rockets fired to nearly 300.
TERRORISTS RECEIVING SOPHISTICATED ARMS
Today’s air strikes were the fourth in less than a week. Air attacks on Palestinian terrorist bases in Lebanon were carried out last Friday and on Sunday and Tuesday. Zipori said the escalation was in response to reports that the Palestinians have recently acquired sophisticated arms from the Soviet Union, Libya and Syria, including multi-barrel Katyusha rockets. Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan said the Palestinians have recently obtained tanks.
The targets of today’s raids were not immediately disclosed. They are believed to have included Damour, 12 miles south of Beirut and Nabatiyeh inland from where the rocket attacks were launched yesterday. Zipori said the Palestinians appear not to have “learned their lesson” and promised that even tougher measures would be taken against them. Two terrorist organizations operating in Lebanon have claimed credit for yesterday’s attacks. (See late report Pg. 3).
Meanwhile, settlers in northern Israel angrily criticized the government for not providing sufficient bomb shelters or giving proper training to the home guard. But none are planning to leave the area. As one settler said, “The Nazis couldn’t get me out of my home in London during the blitz and the Palestinians won’t get me out of my home here,” in Nahariya.