French carrier-based aircraft attacked terrorist strongholds in eastern Lebanon today, in what apparently was retaliation for the October 23 truck-bomb attack on French military headquarters in Beirut. President Francois Mitterrand said only last night that he planned punitive action against those “responsible for the murder of 58 of our soldiers.”
The Defense Ministry announced that the Super Etandard fighter-bombers which took off from the carrier Clemenceau, struck at bases in the region of Baalbek in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. The same targets were hit by Israeli jet fighters in a retaliatory raid yesterday for the November 4 truck-bomb attack on Israeli military headquarters in Tyre. The bases and adjacent training camps are reportedly used by some 1,500 Iranian terrorists and their supporters among Lebanese Shiite Moslems.
Those elements are believed responsible for the attacks on the multinational force in Beirut and on the Israelis is south Lebanon. More than 230 U.S. marines and sailors, members of the MNF, were killed when their headquarters at Beirut airport were bombed on October 23, within minutes of the attack on the French troops.
A French radio commentator said today’s air strike “was presumably coordinated with the Israeli and American high commands.” He added however that “each of the three countries is free to implement its policy as it sees fit.” The U.S. so far has not responded with retaliatory action. The Reagan Administration has said it would respond to the attack on the marines if it could be determined clearly which group was responsible and who gave the orders.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.