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Arab World Fearing Imminent Retaliation by Israeli Army

The Arabic media here and abroad continued Tuesday to predict imminent massive retaliation by Israel for the glider-borne terrorist attack that killed six soldiers and wounded seven at an Israel Defense Force base in upper Galilee on the night of Nov. 25.

Such retaliation could lead to a serious clash between the IDF and Syrian forces in Lebanon, according to Arab sources in Beirut quoted by Haaretz Tuesday. The sources said an Israeli armored attack can be expected in southern Lebanon to clean out terrorist bases under Syrian protection.

Yediot Achronot reported from Paris that Arab newspaper editors attending a briefing at the Syrian Embassy there were told that “An Israeli attack against Syria or Syrian forces in Lebanon. . . is expected at any moment.”

The embassy officials say Syrian forces have been placed on alert in Syria and Lebanon “but no mobilization has been conducted so as not to supply Israel with a pretext for a major operation,” Yediot Achronot reported.

The Kuwait newspaper Al-Rai reported Monday that the Romanian ambassador to Israel conveyed a Soviet warning to the Israeli government not to take military action against Syria. The Soviets made clear that Syria does not stand alone, the newspaper reported.

Sources in Beirut claimed that Israeli air attacks are expected against Palestine Liberation Organization bases in Lebanon. Other sources including radio stations and the Kuwaiti news agency reported that Israeli jets conducted simulated attacks Monday over Sidon and PLO camps in southern Lebanon and that Israeli naval vessels are patrolling the southern Lebanon coast.

IDF UNITS ON HIGH ALERT

Haaretz reported Tuesday that IDF units on both sides of the Lebanon border have been placed on high alert, and so has the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army.

Apart from warning of an Israeli military strike at targets in Lebanon, Arabic newspapers continue to hail the “daring action” of the lone terrorist who wrought havoc at the IDF encampment near Kiryat Shemona a week ago.

The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahbar claimed that the blow by the Palestinians against the “rulers of Tel Aviv” proves to Israel that the IDF cannot defend it.

Meanwhile, kibbutzim and moshavim all over Galilee have demanded that the government immediately install cable television and radio facilities in their settlements to serve in emergencies as a source of information for the civilian population and the military. So far, only one kibbutz in the Galilee panhandle has a closed-circuit television system.

The Communications Ministry promised to install cable TV in Kiryat Shemona, which was closest to the area of the glider attack and has long been a target of terrorist rocket attacks and incursions from Lebanon. Now other settlements in the region are demanding the same facilities.

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