TEL AVIV (Jan. 4)
Israel has categorically denied news reports that its forces fired mortar and tank shells last weekend at a make-shift camp in southern Lebanon occupied by 415 Moslem fundamentalist deportees.
Israeli military sources said that Israeli troops directed fire last Saturday night at “suspicious movements” in an uninhabited area of southern Lebanon almost two miles west of the tent camp set up by fundamentalist activists expelled by Israel on Dec. 17.
Lebanese reports said the shelling sent the deportees running for cover in the strip of land between army positions of both sides.
Israeli troops had spotted the silhouettes of several people moving rapidly toward the Israeli buffer zone, in an area where two gunmen were killed last week in an unsuccessful infiltration attempt.
The troops opened fire only after making certain there was no connection between the movements and the deportees, the sources said.
The deportees themselves have reportedly appealed to sympathizers in Lebanon to stop smuggling food to them because it drew Israeli fire.
News reports from Lebanon say the Arab states are planning to request the United Nations come up with a timetable and mechanism for Israel’s return of the deportees under a Security Council resolution.