TEL AVIV (Dec. 28)
An Israeli soldier was killed and two others were wounded in an ambush attack on their patrol this morning in the Jezzine area of south Lebanon. The fatality was the second in little more than 24 hours. An Israeli border policemen was killed in Sidon Monday night.
Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Levy said today that attacks on the Israel Defense Force in Lebanon are likely to increase. He observed that fighting between rival Lebanese factions has slowed down and with the departure of Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat from Lebanon, the terrorists can now concentrate their attacks on Israeli soldiers.
Interviewed on Israel Radio against the background of mounting attacks on Israeli troops in south Lebanon, Levy said that General Headquarters is presently reassessing the disposition of the IDF in Lebanon and will submit its recommendations to the government shortly.
He said that one subject under discussion is the Awali River bridges and how the IDF should deal with them. The bridges link south Lebanon with the rest of the country and are important for commerce. But they also make it easier for terrorists to infiltrate Israeli lines. In separate incidents last weekend, seven Israeli soldiers were wounded by terrorists.
The Chief of Staff also said that the IDF had no plans to prevent the departure of Arafat and his 4,000 loyalists from Tripoli, northern Lebanon, a week ago because there was no way to stop him. The PLO left in Greek ships under United Nations protection.
But according to Levy, Israel’s naval bombardment of PLO positions near Tripoli before their evacuation will have long-range effects, the nature of which only the future will tell. He did not elaborate.