TEL AVIV (Aug. 29)
Premier Menachem Begin’s announcement of his intention to resign will have no effect on the redeployment of the Israel Defense Force from the Shouf mountain to its new line along the Awali River, the Defense Ministry said here today.
The redeployment, delayed for a few days at the urging of the American and Lebanese governments, will be carried out in accordance with the defense needs of Israel, ministry sources said. The pullback was to have started yesterday and completed by the eve of Rosh Hashanah on September 7.
Uri Lubrani, the Israel government’s coordinator of political affairs in Lebanon, was scheduled to meet this evening with Defense Minister Moshe Arens to report on the secret talks he held over the weekend in Paris with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and representatives of the Lebanese government. President Reagan’s special Mideast envoy, Robert McFarlane, was in Paris at the same time where he also met with Jumblatt and Lebanese government representatives
Israeli government officials do not appear to share McFarlane’s optimism that the Lebanese army is capable of taking control of the Shouf mountain area when the IDF withdraws. The area has been the scene in recent weeks of battles between the Druze and Christian Phalangists.
TWO MARINES KILLED, 8 WOUNDED IN BEIRUT AREA
The pessimism of Israeli officials was underlined by the second day today of heavy shelling between Phalangists and Shiite Moslem members of the Amal movement in the Beirut area. Two U.S. marines were killed and eight others wounded as well as some 14 Lebanese civilians, during the shelling in the Beirut airport area and the surrounding slum areas to the south of the capital. An Italian soldier with the multinational force was also wounded. It was not immediately clear if the marines were the victims of stray shelling or if they were intended targets.
The American contingent of the multinational force returned the fire after the shelling killed and wounded the ten marines, using Cobra helicopter gunboats for the first time and pouring mortar and artillery fire at the Shiite source of fire against the American forces. Observers said it was the heaviest operation by U.S. forces since the marines were sent into the Beirut area a year ago.