TEL AVIV (Aug. 2)
The ninth cease-fire since the start of the Lebanon campaign, enforced yesterday after the heaviest day’s fighting yet seen in the war, did not last long. Reports from the Lebanese capital today spoke of firing by terrorists using artillery and missiles at Israeli positions and into Christian areas of east Beirut. Israeli forces returned the fire. But the level of hostilities was well below that experienced yesterday.
The Israel army spokesman said that three Israeli soldiers had been killed yesterday by a direct hit on the armored personnel carrier in which they had been travelling. The spokesman had earlier reported that nine other soldiers had been wounded, most of them not seriously.
Defense Minister Ariel Sharon confirmed to a meeting of high school graduates in Tel Aviv last night that Israeli forces had completely captured the Beirut international airport.
Sharon assured the youngsters, who will be joining the army shortly to begin their compulsory military service, that they would be joining “not only the best army in the world, but also the most moral one.” He explained that special orders had been given to avoid civilian casualties as for as possible, with the Israeli troops taking extra risks to reduce civilian casualties. He said that Israel would insist on all terrorists leaving east Beirut and all foreign forces leaving Lebanon, “which means the Syrians as well as the terrorists.” Sharon said he hoped the destruction of PLO terrorist forces would help lead to a reconciliation between Israelis and Arabs on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.