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Israel to Maintain Military Presence in South Lebanon Despite the Deaths of Three IDF Soldiers

May 29, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The deaths of three Israeli soldiers in south Lebanon over the weekend will not change Israel’s policy of maintaining a military presence there, senior Defense Ministry sources said today.

The three men were killed Saturday night and two other soldiers were wounded — one seriously — when their two-jeep convoy was ambushed with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades on a road near Kamel E-Luz, about two miles from Syrian lines on the eastern sector of the front. The sector had been quiet for nearly two months.

The incident brought Israel Defense Force casualties since the invasion of Lebanon, just one week short of two years ago, to 584 soldiers dead and nearly 4,000 wounded. But defense sources indicated that no direct retaliatory strikes are contemplated. Instead, Israel will continue its pre-emptive air strikes at selected targets in Lebanon. The most recent, last Thursday, the second in five days, according to IDF sources.

A military spokesman said hits were scored on a terrorist base at Bar Elias, five miles south of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley and that all aircraft returned safely. Military correspondents indicated that the raid may have been prompted by intelligence reports of planned terrorist activities or in response to terrorist attacks which injured five Israeli soliders in south Lebanon last week.

Beirut radio reported Friday that the target of the previous day’s air strike was a base used by Ahmed Jibril’s Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Defense Minister Moshe Arens, addressing the Engineers Club in Tel Aviv Friday, said that “as long as there are attacks” on the IDF “in Lebanon we will not leave.”

He maintained that Israel’s continued presence in south Lebanon was necessary to convince the Lebanese to come to terms with Israel. Officials in Jerusalem said today that there was no information from Beirut to confirm reports that the Lebanese government plans to ask Israel to shut down its liaison office in a northern suburb of Beirut. According to their reports, the government of Prime Minister Rashid Karameh plans to close the office.

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