TEL AVIV (Dec. 5)
Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan says he can neither confirm nor deny press reports that II Soviet experts were killed when Israeli Air Force planes bombed and destroyed the wreckage of an Israeli plane which had been downed in Lebanon during the war there.
Addressing students at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Eitan said that while he could not confirm the reports about the deaths of the Russians he could confirm that the wrecked Israel plane was bombed to prevent the enemy from learning the secrets of the plane’s Israeli-made electronic equipment.
The Chief of Staff also told his audience that Israeli forces would remain in Lebanon as long as their presence was required to ensure Israel’s defense and security. He said he did not think public debate about the war in Lebanon was harmful and that it “might even help soldiers clarify their own attitudes.”