TEL AVIV (Mar. 16)
The multinational force came under attack in Beirut last night and this morning. Five U.S. marines sustained slight wounds from a grenade tossed at their patrol from a second-story window on a street near Beirut airport today. Nine Italian soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously, in two separate attacks on their patrols along the airport road last night.
Lebanon radio said this morning that four suspect were arrested near Khalde, the site of the Israel Lebanon-U.S. negotiations. Lebanese army units cordoned off the areas of the attacks, acknowledged to be the worst on the MNF since it was stationed in Beirut after the refugee camps massacres last September. It consists of U.S., Italian, French and British contingents.
Col. James Mead, commander of the 1,200 man U.S. marine force, said today that the wounded marines were evacuated by helicopter to the U.S.S. Guadalcanal, a unit of the Sixth Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean, for treatment. He said their wounds were minor.
Two of the wounded Italian soldiers underwent surgery at the Italian field hospital in Beirut. The Italian troops were travelling in a jeep when they were attacked by rifle-launched grenades. Another Italian unit summoned to help search for the attackers also came under fire.