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U.S. Says Israel’s Raid Was a ‘legitimate’ Act of Self-defense to Acts of Terrorism

The Reagan Administration indicated today that it considers Israel’s bombings of the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Tunisia a “legitimate” act of self-defense against terrorism.

Asked about the Israeli raid, State Department deputy spokesman Charles Rudman said that “without all the facts,” he could not comment specifically about the Israeli action. He then added: “But as a matter of principle, it is our view it is legitimate self-defense against terrorism.”

Rudman noted that the United States understands that “this action was not intended as an offensive act against Tunisia.” The spokesman said that Israel used U.S.-acquired equipment on the raid, but he could not say what kind. But he stressed that “we were not informed in advance and we were not involved in any way.”

Earlier, Rudman repeated a statement that the State Department has often used after acts of terrorism or other violence in the Middle East. “We deeply deplore the rising pattern of violence in which this latest incident is part. It underscores the need to work on the peace process.”

Rudman refused to say whether the U.S. considers the Israeli raid a violation of Tunisian sovereignty. Nor would he comment on what would be the U.S. response if Israel launched a similar attack on PLO bases in Jordan.

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