TEL AVIV (Jan. 5)
Senior military officials tend to believe foreign media reports that Syria has removed its mobile SAM-6 and SAM-8 anti-aircraft missiles recently introduced into Lebanon. But the Israelis stress that the SAM-2 surface-to-air missiles Syria has deployed close to its border with Lebanon are the greater menace.
Media reports in the United States today quoted Reagan Administration officials as saying the Syrians pulled their mobile missile-launchers out of Lebanon, at least temporarily. The SAM-6s and 8s, easily transported by truck, were reported to have been moved to sites along the Beirut-Damascus highway and in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon last month. They were removed after a day or two, then apparently re-introduced and moved out again.
Israeli sources said a careful check would be made to ascertain that the short-range, mobile missiles are in fact no longer in Lebanon. They were placed there as protection for the hard site SAM-2s– longer range, non-mobile missile, which represent a threat to Israeli reconnaissance flights over Lebanon. The flights are considered essential to monitor terrorist activities on a daily basis inside Lebanon which may be preparatory to attacks on Israel.
Meanwhile, the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army has been active. It reported killing two terrorists Friday on the way to attack across the border with Israel. The SLA and Shiite militias traded fire over the weekend.