TE L AVIV (Feb. 2)
The army announced today that it has captured a band of 15 terrorists responsible for the deaths of six Israeli soldiers and the wounding of many others in south Lebanon during the past six months. Most were identified as Shiite Moslem followers of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran.
According to the army, the gang carried out at least 14 attacks on Israeli troops and installations. They were captured after an attack on an Israel Defesne Force post on January 21. Pursuit of the attackers led to a Moslem village where the terrorists were found hiding in a house and in a mosque.
Five were taken into custody and their interrogatior led to the apprehension of 10 others, including local religious leaders. The army claimed that large quantities of Soviet-made arms and ammunition were found in their hide-outs.
But the arrests have not ended attacks on IDF troops in south Lebanon. Automatic weapon fire was aimed at an Israeli outpost south of the Zaharani River last night from a passing car. There were no casualties but the attackers escaped.
Heavy artillery exchanges continued last night and this morning in Beirut between U.S. marines and Lebanese army units at Beirut airport and Shiite Moslem and Druze fighters in the surrounding hills. Reports from Beirut said nine Lebanese were killed and scores were wounded in the exchange. Both U.S. and Israeli warplanes were reported to have flown over Beirut today.