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Relative Calm on Lebanon Border is Punctuated by Bomb Explosion

The relative calm prevailing in southern Lebanon since Israel beefed up forces along the border earlier this week was punctuated briefly Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded in the Israeli-patrolled security zone.

The explosion, which occurred near Huna village, wounded a soldier of the Israeli-allied South Lebanon Army.

In response, SLA forces shelled positions held by the Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah. SLA troops later found five explosive charges and dismantled them without injuries or damage.

Aside from this incident, the area has remained mainly quiet since Israel moved troops and heavy equipment to the border on Tuesday.

The deployment was ordered following an ambush attack in southern Lebanon Sunday that killed five Israeli soldiers and wounded five more, and a Katyusha rocket attack that killed a 14-year-old boy in Kiryat Shmona early Tuesday.

Senior Israeli army sources said that if the calm continued through the end of the week, forces on the border could be thinned out.

Their assessment came amid hopes that messages conveyed to Syria through political channels, combined with heavy Israeli air, ground and naval bombardments of Hezbollah targets earlier this week would drive home the message that Israel is ready to deter further attack.

Meanwhile, security forces have detained a suspect in the shooting of a Jewish settler Tuesday in the West Bank.

Terrorists shot and seriously wounded Motti Biton of Ganim when he stopped to shop at a grocery store in Jenin. His wife, Molly, waiting for him in the car, fired her pistol at the assailants, who fled.

It later emerged that one terrorist was hit in the face and security forces were able to locate him with relative ease. He was identified as Mohammad Suleiman Turkeman, 19, of Jenin. Israeli forces reportedly know who the other terrorist is and are looking for him.

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