TEL AVIV (Feb. 2)
Sources close to the Israeli army in Lebanon reported today that Christian Phalangists are waging a war of murder and intimidation against Palestinians in the Sidon area. The purpose is to force them to leave or to move into the ghetto surrounding the Ein Hilwe refugee camp. An estimated 18,000 Palestinians live in the camp and at least twice that number in other parts of Sidon.
According to the sources, the bodies of seven recently murdered Palestinians were found outside the camp during the past week. Five other bodies found earlier are believed to be those of Palestinians murdered 4-5 months ago. A military spokesman here confirmed that “five or six bodies” were found recently but could not say whether the apparent murders were politically motivated.
Reports from Beirut today said 17 persons were killed and 34 wounded in a battle between Christian and Druze militias in the Shouf maintains region of Lebanon yesterday. A total of 34 have been killed since the fighting erupted anew last Saturday and the death tall since last November has been placed at more than 130.
The Israel army commander in the Shouf district was quoted as blaming “outside elements” for the renewed warfare. He was apparently referring to the Syrians who allegedly encourage both sides to open fire on each other.
Haaretz reported today that the Israeli army in Lebanon has warned Druze and Christian leaders that it would stop guarding convoys of food and fuel unless the fighting ceased. If the threat is carried out, both sides would be faced with severe shortages within a few days, the paper’s military correspondent said.
Haaretz also reported that Israeli arms and ammunition have been found in the hands of Druze fighters in the Shouf district and were confiscated.