Downed Israeli Pilot is Returned Safely to Israel
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Downed Israeli Pilot is Returned Safely to Israel

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An Israel Air Force pilot shot down over Lebanon yesterday has been returned safely to Israel, a military spokesman announced.

The pilot ejected from his jet when it was hit by a ground-to-air missile while attacking terrorist targets in the Shouf mountain area southeast of Beirut. He parachuted in an area held by the Lebanese army which turned him over to the Israeli military. The pilot, who was not identified, was flown to Israel by an Air Force helicopter. No details of his rescue were disclosed.


Meanwhile, heavy fighting was reported to be continuing in Tripoli, the city in northern Lebanon where Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat and his loyalists have been under siege for more than a week by Syrian-backed PLO dissidents. There were media reports today that the dissidents declared a voluntary cease-fire to prevent further bloodshed among the Lebanese residents of Tripoli.

Arafat charged at a press conference for the foreign news media yesterday that the Syrians and PLO rebels were shelling the Lebanese areas of Tripoli where there are no Palestinians.

Two Israeli peace activists, Uri Avneri and Gen. (Res.) Mattityahu Peled, said today that it was a tragic paradox that Israel, which is attacking pro-Syrian and anti-Arafat forces in south Lebanon, maintains a tight naval blockade of Tripoli to prevent Arafat’s escape by sea and to prevent his forces from receiving supplies. Israel has never acknowledged a blockade and Arafat himself has claimed that he is getting supplies by sea.

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