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Several Minor Cease-fire Violations by the PLO Reported

August 18, 1982
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Several minor violations of the cease-fire by PLO terrorists was reported today by an Israel Defense Force spokesman. He said terrorists directed some small arms fire at Israeli positions in the Beirut area and small arms and bazooka fire on the eastern sector near the area held by Syrian troops. There were no Israeli casualties. The Israelis, who at first held their fire, responded with small arms fire.

Defense Minister Ariel Sharon today ordered the IDF to lift restrictions imposed yesterday on the movement from Israel to Lebanon of personnel belonging to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). No explanation for the ban was given. At the same time, Israeli forces and the Lebanese Christian militia eased their ban on fresh fruits and vegetables entering Beirut, according to reports from wholesalers in that city. Five large truckloads of vegetables and fruits came into west Beirut this morning, whereas a week ago fresh food was filtering through only in small quantities, the dealers said.


According to reports from Beirut today, Israeli troops have handed over to Lebanese army men control of the Galerie Sema, a crossing point between east and west Beirut, and will hand over to them the National Museum crossing point tomorrow.

The move appears to be part of on Israeli withdrawal from the area directly outside the Lebanese Parliament building where the Lebanese Parliament is due to elect its new President on Thursday.

The Lebanese are reported to have asked for the withdrawal of some yards to avoid the impression that the election of the Lebanese President is being carried out under the pressure of Israeli guns.

Beirut reports also spoke of flights by Israeli planes over west Beirut today for the first time since last Thursday’s cease-fire was declared by Israel. The aircraft dropped no bombs but caused sonic booms throughout the region.


Meanwhile, Israel was awaiting word from Beirut as to whether the PLO will meet its final condition for ending its siege of the city by freeing a captured Israeli pilot, a senior official said today in Jerusalem. The official warned that it would block any plan for evacuating PLO forces from west Beirut until the pilot, Aharon Achiaz, and the bodies of nine Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon are returned.

Achiaz was taken prisoner after his jet crashed near the PLO stronghold of Beaufort Castle in the first days of the war. Israel, which softened a string of earlier demands, has said it is absolutely essential that Achiaz be freed before it agrees to the evacuation plan by U.S. special envoy Philip Habib.

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