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Six Injured in Southern Lebanon

December 3, 1999

MARJAYOUN, Lebanon (AP) _ Guerrillas fired mortars and machine guns at an Israeli army base and other outposts in southern Lebanon on Thursday, injuring three Israeli soldiers and three Lebanese civilians, the Israeli army said.

The attack prompted Israeli jets to strike with two missiles at suspected guerrilla targets in a valley near Majdel Zoun, a village about three miles north of the Israeli border, the Lebanese security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

There was no word of casualties in the airstrike, which was confirmed by the Israeli army in Jerusalem.

Mortarfire by guerrillas against the base in the Israeli-occupied zone of southern Lebanon wounded three Israeli soldiers, the Israeli military said in a statement issued in Jerusalem. The troops were taken to Israel for treatment.

The military said the guerrillas also fired missiles, mortars and machine guns at outposts manned by Israeli troops and Israel’s proxy militia in the zone, the South Lebanon Army, but there were no casualties.

Guerrilla fire on the village of al-Bayyada, six miles north of the Israeli border, injured three Lebanese civilians, the Israeli military said. The attack was apparently directed at an Israeli outpost in the village. The Israeli military called the attack a ``blatant violation″ of the 1996 agreement in which both sides undertook to avoid civilian targets.

Israel said the Syrian-backed Amal group had claimed responsibility for the attack, but that could not immediately be confirmed.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah group said Thursday that its guerrillas had attacked the Israeli outpost named Radar on the edge of the occupied zone, scoring ``direct hits″ and destroying fortifications, and the Israeli position at Hardoun.

Lebanese security officials confirmed the Hezbollah attacks and subsequent exchanges of fire, but could not immediately confirm the Israeli casualties.

Hezbollah is the most active of the guerrilla groups fighting to evict 1,500 Israeli soldiers and the 2,500 SLA militiamen from the occupied zone, which Israel set up in 1985 as a buffer against cross-border guerrilla attacks on its northern towns.

Also Thursday, the SLA released four prisoners from the Khiam jail in the occupied zone for ``humanitarian reasons,″ a militia statement said. Lebanese security officials confirmed the releases, saying the prisoners were handed over to their families in the occupied zone.

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