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Israeli Soldier Killed, 2 Injured During Clash in Southern Lebanon

An Israeli soldier was killed and two others wounded, one of them seriously, in a clash Tuesday morning with a guerrilla group some miles north of the border security zone in southern Lebanon.

Several guerilla gunmen were wounded in the clash, but managed to retreat after the engagement, which occurred while the Israeli soldiers were on an operational patrol.

The slain soldier was not immediately identified.

Heavy artillery, tank and mortar exchanges continued throughout the day in various sectors of the zone, and three Katyusha rockets were fired at a post manned by the Israeli-allied South Lebanon Army in the zone’s eastern sector.

Katyusha rockets also landed elsewhere within the zone, wounding three local residents, including a young child.

United Nations sources reported that Israeli air force assault helicopters hovered over south Lebanon during the day, flying to within some 18 miles of Beirut.

Military observers expected the Iranian- backed Shi’ite Hezbollah organization to continue its attacks against Israel and its SLA allies at an accelerated rate, in an effort to derail the peace process.

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