TEL AVIV (Aug. 26)
Israeli airplanes fired on an underground base of the Hezbollah movement Thursday, in retaliation for attacks by the Iranian-backed guerrillas that killed nine Israeli soldiers last week.
The Israeli air attack on the base in southern Lebanon followed two days of Hezbollah attacks on units of the Israel Defense Force and its allied South Lebanon Army.
The Hezbollah assaults, which caused no Israeli or SLA casualties, were answered by artillery fire from Israeli positions.
The incidents appeared to signal that Hezbollah is intent on continuing its efforts to drive Israeli forces from Lebanese soil.
In the Israeli air assault Thursday, a plane dropped eight missiles on a mountainside near Lebanese villages. Hezbollah guerrillas later con- firmed that a series of caves and tunnels used by the extremists had been destroyed.
There were no reports of casualties.
As was the case in a retaliatory air assault a week earlier, Israeli officials said the latest attack had avoided civilian targets.
Israel clearly wanted to refrain from an escalation that could lead to a renewal of Katyusha rocket attacks against Israeli population centers in Galilee.
Hezbollah has warned in the past that if Israel hit civilian villages north of the security zone, “there would be no security for Israeli settlements” in Galilee.
In a separate incident. Thursday, Syrian gunners on the Golan Heights fired at an Israeli civilian crop-dusting plane which had flown in error over Syrian territory.
The light, low-flying plane was not hit and returned safely to its base.