TEL AVIV (Apr. 23)
An Israel Defense Force unit repulsed a terrorist gang attempting to infiltrate the south Lebanon security zone Thursday. The clash took place near Bint Jabil village. There were no IDF casualties but blood stains on the ground indicated one or more of the infiltrators was wounded.
Personal weapons, sabotage equipment and shoulder-fired missiles were found near the scene.
Earlier Thursday, Israeli helicopter gunships attacked terrorist targets south of Sidon in south Lebanon. An IDF spokesman said buildings that served as terrorist headquarters for planning and launching attacks on Israel were hit.
Following the attack, Israel Air Force jets dropped leaflets over south Lebanon warning the local population that cooperation with terrorists would bring “harsh measures” by the IDF. Katyusha rockets have been fired into Galilee from south Lebanon in recent days. A terrorist gang that infiltrated Israel last Sunday and killed two IDF soldiers from ambush is believed to have found shelter in local villages before they breached the border fence.
SYRIA, SHIITE MILITIA WARNED
Meanwhile, Israel has reportedly warned Syria and the Lebanese Shiite militia, Amal, that it would not tolerate terrorist attacks from Lebanese territory. Military sources have noted that since the Syrian army occupied Moslem west Beirut last month and deployed elements south-ward, Amal has directly attacked IDF units in the south Lebanon security zone.
Previously its targets were limited to the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army (SLA), the main force in the security zone. Israel warned it would hold Amal responsible for attacks on the IDF but does not consider Amal an enemy and will try to improve relations with the local Shiite population.
The most serious clash in the security zone involved the Iran-backed extremist Shiite movement Hezbullah which mounted a large-scale attack in the zone last Saturday. It was repulsed by IDF infantry backed by tanks and helicopter gunships. Hezbullah casualties were severe. Initially, 18 bodies were discovered. Seven more were found in the area this week, bringing the total to 25. Four IDF soldiers were slightly wounded in the clash.
A parcel bomb discovered in a Tel Aviv-to-Ashkelon bus Thursday morning was safely detonated by police sappers after it was spotted by an alert passenger.