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2 Israeli Soldiers Wounded, 4 Guerrillas Killed, As Efforts Renewed to Infiltrate Border Zone

June 13, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded and four guerrillas killed in a clash last night near Majdal Salim village in the south Lebanon security zone 10 kilometers west of Kiryat Shemona.

The clash indicated that the Israel Defense Force continues patrol activity in the security belt notwithstanding the withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanese soil completed two days ago. It was also clear that hostile guerrillas and terrorists are trying to infiltrate the border zone.

There have been several skirmishes with guerrillas in the Majdal Salim area in recent days. An IDF spokesman said last night’s incident occurred when a “routine security patrol” came under fire near the village. The patrol returned the fire killing three guerrillas. As they approached the bodies, a fourth infiltrator, apparently wounded, fired his weapon at the patrol, wounding two Israeli soldiers. He was promptly killed.

The guerrillas were in possession of Kalachnikof assault rifles and a 60 mm. mortar which showed signs of recent use.


The IDF spokesman explained the presence of Israeli forces in Lebanon was on an ad hoc basis and depended on the level of guerrilla or terrorist activity. A policy background paper issued to reporters said “The level of the IDF’s backing and support for the SLA (South Lebanon Army) will depend on the willingness and ability of the population of southern Lebanon to maintain security and tranquility as well as the scope of attempted hostile infiltration aimed at disrupting life along Israel’s northern border.”

The policy paper stressed that “The security zone will remain an inseparable part of Lebanon, open to the movement of people and goods in every direction, provided it is not misused for the passage of terrorists and transfer of their equipment.”

The Israel-backed SLA meanwhile continued to hold 20 Finnish soldiers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) who were seized over the weekend for allegedly disarming II SLA soldiers and handing them over to Amal, the Shiite Moslem militia hostile to the SLA.


Israel’s close support relationship with the SLA has involved it in the embroglia but the IDF seems to be playing a key role in efforts to obtain the release of the Finnish soldiers and the SLA captives. Observers here believe the incident may have a satisfactory outcome.

One result, they say, could be mutual concessions by Israel and UNIFIL. The former may reverse its refusal to allow UNIFIL to deploy as far south as the international border while the UN force will agree to maintain relations with the SLA which, up to now, it has refused to recognize. UNIFIL already has relations with Amal and other local militias.

Yesterday, the Finnish soldiers were visited by Brig. Gen. Jean Pons, deputy commander of UNIFIL, at SLA headquarters in the Christion village of Marjayoun. Earlier, Pons met with SLA commander Gen. Antoine Lehad.

The Finnish captives told reporters “We are being treated more like guests than prisoners of war.” Their only complaint was lack of facilities for exercise.

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