JERUSALEM (Jul. 2)
Yasir Arafat, head of the El Fatah terrorist group, denied last night reports that El Fatah was withdrawing its forces from the Lebanese border area adjacent to Israel. Speaking at a meeting at the South Lebanon town of Saiyde, Arafat said “the Fedayeen will not withdraw from southern Lebanon and their numbers there will not be decreased.” The area is known as Fatahland in recognition of the fact that for some time, it has been under control of various guerrilla groups which have used it for staging areas for strikes into Israel, bringing Israeli reprisals which have evoked concern from Lebanese authorities and condemnations of Israel by the United Nations Security Council.
Arafat insisted that the Lebanese-based guerrilla groups had undertaken only to act in a way which would not “prejudice” Lebanon’s interests. He added that he was seeking a formula which would satisfy both the guerrilla groups and the Lebanese authorities.