TEL AVIV (Dec. 27)
The Israel Defense Force launched ground and air attacks against facilities of the Lebanese Communist Party on Tuesday.
The air raid, conducted by missile-firing fighter-bombers, severely damaged a multi-story building in Rumaila, about 20 miles south of Beirut, which the IDF described as the Communist faction’s headquarters.
It followed by several hours a paratroop assault on a Communist base near Hasbaya, at the southern end of the Bekaa Valley, about 14 miles north of the Israeli-patrolled security zone in southern Lebanon.
The attack was backed up by tank and artillery fire, an IDF spokesman said.
He said four terrorists were killed. There were no Israeli casualties.
The IDF has rarely targeted the Lebanese Communist Party, which seems to have little influence in a region that is mainly Shi’ite Moslem or Maronite Christian.
But the small faction allegedly cooperates with terrorist groups and was responsible for an attempt two years ago on the life of Gen. Antoine Lehad, commander of the Israeli-backed and largely Christian South Lebanon Army.
Tuesday’s operations were described as part of the IDF’s continuing campaign to drive terrorist groups as far as possible from the security zone and the Israeli border.