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5 People, Including 3 Terrorists, Killed in Attack on Radio and Television Station in South Lebanon

Three terrorists, a local worker and a South Lebanon Army (SLA) soldier were killed in South Lebanon last night when a gang of four men attacked the American missionary-owned and operated “Voice of Hope” radio and television station near EI Khiam between Marjayoun and the Israel border in the security zone.

Four men with explosives on their backs — estimated to have been about 100 kilograms — attacked the buildings. One of them managed to place his charge near the radio station building. In the explosion that followed the station was completely destroyed along with its equipment. The radio station continued to broadcast from a temporary small studio in Marjayoun, using reserve equipment. The nearby television studios were not damaged, and transmissions are continuing.

The four men approached the building, throwing hand grenades. A 55-year-old watchman shot one of the attackers and was himself shot and killed by the attackers. A nearby SLA post opened fire, apparently hitting the remaining three terrorists and setting off the explosives they carried on their bodies. One of the SLA men was killed in the exchange of fire.

The station has come under verbal attack from religious extremists in both Lebanon and Israel, for its Christian messages. SLA sources complained today that in view of threats from Moslem extremists in Lebanon, the station should have increased its guard.

Voice of Hope, together with its associated Middle East Television, is owned and operated by George Otis of Los Angeles and his California-based High Adventure missionary group. The low-powered radio station, which cannot be heard in most of Israel, has been operating for about six years, while the television station, whose transmissions are watched throughout much of Israel, began operating about three years ago.

The radio station broadcasts mainly in Arabic, beaming religious programs and church services to Christian Arabs in south Lebanon and northern Israel.

Middle East Television broadcasts in English, mainly sports, American movies (with the language carefully censored and undesirable words and phrases bleeped out), and news. All programs have a subtle religious message, especially those taken from religious and missionary networks in the U.S.

With only one television network in Israel, the Voice of Hope serves Israelis as a third channel for viewers, after the Jordan television station.

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