TEL AVIV (Jul. 11)
Two Israeli soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously, in a clash Monday night with gunmen just north of the southern Lebanon security zone.
Both were evacuated by Israel Defense Force helicopter and were to be flown to Haifa. But the precarious condition of one of them necessitated an emergency landing at Safad, where the helicopter was met by a mobile intensive care unit.
The badly injured soldier underwent emergency surgery by the light of parked vehicles. He was flown to Haifa later and reported in satisfactory condition at Rambam Hospital.
The latest clash occurred in the course of a large-scale search operation north of the security zone, conducted by the IDF and the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army.
Gen. Yossi Peled, head of the northern command, said the IDF is warning local villagers that it will take tough measures, including house-to-house searches, if they collaborate with terrorists.
Meanwhile, the pro-Syrian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, led by George Habash, acknowledged that three terrorists killed Monday in a skirmish with SLA forces north of the security zone were acting on its behalf.
The PFLP statement, issued in the Syrian-occupied Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon, said the men were engaged in a joint operation with the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, another pro-Syrian Palestinian group.