TEL AVIV (Sep. 23)
Nine Israeli soldiers were wounded in a series of incidents in south Lebanon today. Israel Defense Force patrols killed six terrorists and captured two.
Five of the casualties occurred when an IDF patrol was ambushed by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades near Rehan village on the central front. An IDF spokesman said another patrol tracked down the assailants and killed three of them.
A sixth Israeli soldier was wounded when five terrorists attempted to land from a rubber dhingy at the mouth of the Awali River just north of Sidon. The dhingy had come under fire from an Israeli missile boat. The terrorists attacked an IDF post on a nearby bridge, wounding one soldier. Three of the attackers were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire, one of them a woman. Two were captured.
Three IDF soldiers were wounded this evening when an explosive charge detonated on a main traffic artery as their convoy passed by. The IDF reported earlier than an explosive charge was detonated by remote control on a road near Joya village but caused no casualties.
IDF ON SPECIAL ALERT
The IDF has been on special alert since the carbomb attack on the U.S. Embassy annex in east Beirut last Thursday and the massacre of 13 Shiite Moslems by Druze members of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) in Sohmor village in south Lebanon on Thursday.
Two Americans were killed and a number were wounded in the attack for which a little known group calling itself the Islamic Jihad (holy war) claimed responsibility. Four wounded Americans were flown to Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel for treatment today. According to hospital sources, they are being examined to determine whether their injuries require surgery.
The episode at Sohmer was described as a revenge slaying for four SLA soldiers killed in ambush by villag- ers several hours earlier. Israeli and SLA sources insisted over the weekend that it was an “aberration” and would not affect Israel’s relationship with the SLA which is being groomed to take over responsibility for security in regions of south Lebanon bordering Israel.
Brig. Gen. Shlomo Ilya, the IDF’s chief liaison officer in south Lebanon, and SLA commander Gen. Antoine Lehad agreed that no conclusions could be drawn that would alter Israel’s trust in the SLA. Lehad said that those responsible for the “private act of revenge” are in detention and would be tried under Lebanese military law.
Ilya said he has appointed a committee to investigate the incident and warned against drawing “hasty conclusions.” He stressed that the behavior of a few men does not compromise the SLA’s ability to carry out defensive and security operations. Israeli soldiers who occupied Sohmer directly after the massacre have been withdrawn to reduce tensions. Reporters have not been allowed to enter the village.