TEL AVIV (Dec. 18)
A hand grenade thrown at an Israel army patrol wounded two Israeli soldiers and killed a Lebanese civilian on the main street of Sidon in south Lebanon today. The street was crowded with shoppers at the time.
Israeli gunboats bombarded Palestine Liberation Organization positions in Tripoli, northern Lebanon today and yesterday when an Italian hospital ship bearing large Red Cross markings embarked more than 70 wounded PLO fighters for evacuation to Larnaca, Cyprus. An Israeli military spokesman reported direct hits. The chartered ship, the Appia, reportedly sailed unharmed.
Five Greek ships, reportedly escorted by French warships, were said to have sailed from Cyprus today to embark PLO chief Yasir Arafat and some 4,000 of his fighters tomorrow. The Greek vessels will be flying the United Nations flag. Israel has not guaranteed them safe conduct or indicated whether it will allow Arafat and his men to leave Tripoli. But the general feeling here is that the Israelis will not interfere with any shipping on the high seas.
WAR AGAINST THE PLO WILL NOT STOP
Today’s Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem was reportedly devoted at length to the situation in Lebanon. Cabinet secretary Dan Meridor told reporters later that Israel did not interfere with the evacuation of the PLO wounded yesterday because they were wounded. But he said Israel has always been at war with the PLO and that war will not stop now. The sea bombardment of Tripoli was to be seen as just a part of that long war, he said.
The Israeli policy of creating uncertainty as to its intentions has succeeded, according to reports here today, in forcing the PLO to abandon its equipment, including artillery and tanks, when it leaves Lebanon. The weapons will not be transported under UN protection.
CONTINUE EVACUATING CHRISTIAN CIVILIANS
Meanwhile, the evacuation of Christian civilians from the Shouf mountains town of Deir AlKamar was resumed today. It began last Thursday but was halted yesterday because of hostility on the part of Druze fighters who control the region, toward the Christian convoys under the Red Cross auspices. Israeli forces are protecting the convoys, but only in the eastern Shouf area, not as far as Beirut as had been requested by the Red Cross.