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Incidents in South Lebanon

An Israeli soldier was slightly injured when his vehicle hit a mine in south Lebanon yesterday and an Israeli seaman was wounded today by shots fired from a suspicious looking merchant vessel at an Israel Navy patrol boat approaching it for inspection off the port of Sidon in south Lebanon.

A military spokesman, confirming the incident, said the hostile vessel was sunk by a Navy missile boat. He denied a welter or reports from Beirut and Sidon that as many as eight Israel Navy vessels shelled Shiite militia and Palestinian positions in Sidon and further north along the coast from the mouth of the Awali River to Jiah in the Kharoub region south of Beirut. The reports spoke of panic in Sidon.

The Beirut reports said the sunken vessel was a Cypriot-registered freighter with a cargo of cement from Rumania and was set ablaze by the Israeli bombardment. Its crew was rescued, at least six of them wounded, the report said.

Yesterday’s mine incident occurred near Kaukaba village, west of Hasbiya. The wounded soldier was sent home after treatment at a hospital, a military spokesman said.

Meanwhile, soldiers of the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army (SLA) clashed with a Finnish unit of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) at a roadblock near Barajit village in south Lebanon last night. The incident occurred when three SLA men refused to allow the Finnish soldiers to search their personal belongings. Shots were fired into the air by both sides and volleys of curses were exchanged but there were no casualties.

Three SLA soldiers were injured yesterday when their vehicle hit a mine near Bint J’Bail in the South Lebanon security zone.

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