Tel Aviv (Jul. 22)
Israeli Air Force planes today again attacked terrorist installations in south Lebanon, the military command said here. The targets were crossings along the Litani and Zaharani rivers which the terrorists had improvised after Israeli air force planes destroyed the bridges last week. The bridges had been used to transport military equipment for attacks on Israel.
Air Force Commander Gen. David Ivry said Israeli aircraft had met “massive anti-aircraft fire” during some of its sorties on terrorist targets in Lebanon but none had been hit and all planes returned safely to their base. The fire included anti-aircraft artillery and missiles, mainly from shoulder-mounted Strella missiles, and one ocassion a SAM-9 missile was fired, Ivry said. Asked about the delays in the delivery of F-16 aircraft from the United States, he said it was “bearable in the short term but could be serious in the long term.”
Premier Menachem Begin disclosed that a 130mm. artillery gun of the type used to shell Israeli settlements had been destroyed yesterday, but he did no say whether by air attack or by Israeli artillery fire. “It may be replaced by the enemy,” he said. “If so, its replacement will also be destroyed.”
HABIB CONTINUES HIS MISSION
Meanwhile, U.S. special envoy Philip Habib conferred for an hour with President Elias Sarkis of Lebanon and Prime Minister Shafiq al-Wazzan and then left for Jeddah to seek Saudi Arabian support for his efforts to halt the fighting.
Habib met yesterday with Begin and the Cabinet issued a statement after meeting for six hours which said, in part, that the government agrees that Habib “embark upon contacts with … Sarkis and the government of Lebanon with the aim of establishing peaceful relations between Israel and Lebanon.” The statement added that Israel “will under no circumstances conduct negotiations directly or indirectly with the Arab terrorist organizations …” The statement also affirmed that the government “will continue to defend the citizens of Israel. This is its right and its duty.”