TEL AVIV (Dec. 22)
Defense Minister Ariel Sharon claimed today that a road mine which killed two Israeli army officers and wounded three others in eastern Lebanon yesterday was “clearly planted by Palestinian terrorists.” He said Israel would not tolerate such attacks and would take action to prevent their recurrence. He did not say what kind of action he had in mind.
In another incident today, an explosive charge detonated near an Israel army vehicle near Kfar Sul in the vicinity of Beirut airport. An army spokesman said there were no casualties of damage but a search of the area uncovered two more explosive devices.
The officers killed yesterday were identified as reserve lieutenant colonels riding in a jeep on an inspection trip to a point overlooking Syrian army lines. Their names were not immediately released. Their jeep struck a mine on a dirt road after skidding in mud. Army sources said the Syrians in that sector have been trying to restrain Palestinians who are under their protection. The sources said the Syrians have been seen to use force to maintain discipline.
NO COMPROMISE ON TABO
Sharon discussed the incident with reporters during a tour of the Israel-Egyptian border where he raised the issue of the disputed Tabo region. Taba comprises several acres of beach where Israel recently opened a resort hotel, the Sonesta, despite Egypt’s claim that it is part of Sinai. The dispute was supposed to be resolved through a negotiating process established by the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty.
But talks were suspended after Israel invaded Lebanon last June and the Egyptians refuse to resume them until all Israeli forces are out of Lebanon. Sharon insisted today that Taba belongs to Israel and “there will be no compromise.” He told reporters, “We would not have developed the beach area and built this hotel if we did not think this was ours.” He said Taba was only one of 15 points along the Israel-Egyptian border still under dispute which could be resolved only by negotiations.