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IDF Finds Soviet Rocket Launchers in South Lebanon Aimed at the Galilee Panhandle Kibbutz of Manara

January 4, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An Israeli army patrol on a routine search discovered five Katyusha rocket launchers in southern Lebanon about three miles east of the Galilee panhandle kibbutz of Manara, an army spokesman announced today. The launchers, which were discovered last Friday, were aimed toward the panhandle area where many Katyusha rockets fell in the years before the “Peace for Galilee” operation was undertaken last June.

The launchers were destroyed by the army which has been scouring the area since they were found in an effort to find those responsible for placing the weapons there. It is not known when they were brought to the area.

Israel Radio suggested that the launchers might have been set up to disrupt the Israel-Lebanon talks which were held in Kiryat Shmona last Thursday and are to continue there this week, also. The mobile launchers were placed near the Lebanese village at Magdal Saloum, whose residents were known to have collaborated with the PLO in the past, the radio said.

The village lies within the south Lebanon region controlled by the Ghana unit of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), whose spokesman was quoted as saying today that since the start of the talks in Kiryat Shmona the Israel Defense Force had stepped up its patrol activities in the areas and had interfered with the work of UNIFIL. The UN force therefore, he said, could not be responsible for keeping the area safe.

Israel army sources responded, however, by saying the UNIFIL patrols on Lebanese roads should have, prevented the movement of the launchers to the sites where they were found. It is presumed that PLO fighters are still hidden within the area, together with stocks of arms.

Terrorist activity has increased in south Lebanon recently, especially in the coastal area around Tyre and Sidon. There were two separate attacks on Israeli soldiers in Sidon yesterday, but nobody was injured.

In one incident an IDF convoy was fired on as it passed through the town. In the other, an explosive charge went off near an army vehicle. Incidents in the Shouf mountain area have usually involved Israeli forces caught in crossfire between Druze and Christians.

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