TEL AVIV (Jan. 31)
The Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army killed three Palestinian infiltrators early Thursday morning in a clash in the southern Lebanon security zone.
The encounter followed the third successive night of Katyusha rocket bombardment of the zone by Palestinians in southern Lebanon. The bombing occurred two-and-a-half miles from the Israeli border settlement of Zarit. The Israel Defense Force said two SLA militiamen were wounded.
Israeli officials described the Katyusha rocket attacks as the most intense in nearly a decade, although no casualties or significant damage was reported since they began Monday night.
As on the previous occasions, Israeli and SLA artillery responded with heavy shelling of what the IDF identified as “Palestinian positions” near the Lebanese port of Tyre and in the mountains to the north.
Reports from Lebanon said 6,000 Palestinians fled the Rashidiya refugee camp to escape the shelling.
According to Uri Lubrani, the Defense Ministry’s coordinator for policy in Lebanon, Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat is trying to “liven up our northern frontier” with the rocket barrage to demonstrate his support of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.