Haig Concerned About New Mideast Violence; Habib May Return to Area

Secretary of State Alexander Haig said today that he was deeply concerned that the new flare-up of violence along the Lebanese border could escalate with serious consequences for Middle East peace.

State Department spokesman Dean Fischer said, at the same time, that there was “a possibility” that special envoy Philip Habib, who helped arrange the cease-fire on the Israeli-Lebanese border last July, would return to the region to try to preserve it. Fischer said President Reagan would decide if and when Habib would go to the region. Fischer said Habib would be consulting with State Department officials this week.

Haig expressed his views in the aftermath of Israeli air attacks on Palestinian terrorist targets in Lebanon yesterday which were followed by shell and rocket attacks by Palestinians against villages and towns in northern Israel. Israel reported no casualties or damage from the attacks.

Haig told reporters, “We continue to be in very close contact with the parties and indirectly we try to plumb the views and attitudes of the Palestinians in southern Lebanon.” He added that the U.S. has been “very active over the weekend to shore up the cease-fire.”

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