TEL AVIV (Nov. 14)
Israeli troops wounded and captured three heavily armed Palestinian terrorists Sunday night, as they were attempting to infiltrate Israel through the southern Lebanese security zone.
The three were identified as members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist, pro-Syrian group headed by Nayef Hawatmeh.
The infiltrators were equipped with LAW shoulder-fired missile launchers, Kalachnikov assault rifles, grenades, ammunition and wire-cutters.
According to the Israel Defense Force, documents were found on the terrorists identifying them as “freedom fighters” on their way to support the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and to free comrades held in Israeli prisons.
The gang was spotted by an IDF unit on routine patrol near Talusa in the central sector of the security zone, less than five miles north of Moshav Margaliyot in Upper Galilee.
Military sources said the incident was the 46th attempt in three years by Palestinian terrorists to infiltrate Israel through the security zone. Most of them were foiled, either by the IDF or the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army.
The IDF, meanwhile, was highly critical of the way the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon handled a hostage situation in the security zone Sunday which resulted in the death of a Lebanese civilian.
A five-man gang of Al Fatah, the mainstream fighting organization of the Palestine Liberation Organization, seized a Finnish-manned UNIFIL post and held hostage the five soldiers and two Lebanese civilian water workers sent there to repair a leaky pipe.
One of the Lebanese hostages was killed.
Four of the terrorists surrendered early on, but one, said to have been heavily drugged, held out for 18 hours.
UNIFIL troops surrounded the post but made no attempt to overpower the lone gunman, IDF sources said.