JERUSALEM (Feb. 28)
Israeli air force jets carried out their third raid this year over Lebanon on Tuesday.
A military spokesman said the targets were the headquarters and bases of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Syrianbacked terrorist group led by Nayef Hawatmeh.
The spokesman said the targets “were destroyed” and all planes returned safely.
Reports from Lebanon said six fighter-bombers struck just before noon at targets eight to nine miles from Beirut. They made three bombing runs within 30 minutes, the reports said.
A spokesman for the Democratic Front confirmed the raid. He said casualties were still being counted.
The Democratic Front claimed responsibility for an infiltration attempt last week that was thwarted by the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army.
In Washington, the State Department deplored the Israeli air strike and recent attempts to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon.
“We deplore the loss of life and needless suffering of innocent people on both sides, Lebanese and Israeli alike,” State Department spokesman Charles Redman said at his regular briefing Tuesday.
“This latest sequence of actions and reaction in south Lebanon underscores once again the need for agreed-on security arrangements to ensure stability in the region and security for the peoples of south Lebanon and northern Israel.”
Last year, at least 128 people were killed and 356 injured in 25 air raids by the Israeli air force over Lebanon.
The most frequent targets were bases used by Shiite fundamentalist groups and splinter groups of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Democratic Front is a constituent of the PLO. But Hawatmeh is reported to be critical of PLO chief Yasir Arafat’s more moderate line.
(JTA correspondent Howard Rosenberg in Washington contributed to this report.)