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Guerrillas Attack Israeli Troops

September 3, 1999

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Guerrillas attacked Israeli troops in southern Lebanon on Thursday as villagers buried their dead after an upsurge in hostilities claimed the lives of two Lebanese civilians and two combatants.

The Hezbollah guerrilla group said its forces attacked an Israeli army patrol in the vicinity of the Taibeh outpost, nearly 2 miles from the Israeli border, with rockets ``scoring confirmed hits.″

Lebanese security officials, who monitor the combat in southern Lebanon, said there were no reports of casualties among Israeli troops.

Fighting intensified Wednesday, when Hezbollah set off a roadside bomb by a patrol of the Lebanese militia that helps Israeli troops in their occupation of southern Lebanon. Two pro-Israeli militiamen were killed.

In response, Israeli artillery pounded villages in the south and warplanes attacked suspected guerrilla hideouts throughout the night. Two Lebanese civilians were killed.

Hezbollah guerrillas fired rockets at the northern Israel town of Kiryat Shmona. But the rockets failed to reach the town, exploding harmlessly on the Israeli-Lebanese border, Israeli radio said quoting military sources.

Hezbollah said in a statement issued in Beirut that one of its fighters died Thursday of wounds he had suffered in earlier fighting.

In the southern village of Libbaya, which took direct shell hits on Wednesday, some 2,000 people turned out for the funeral of Hassan Akl, 18, and Fatima al-Jabali, 35.

A Hezbollah legislator, Hussein Hajj Hassan, told the mourners the guerrillas had ``the right to respond to every aggression″ by Israel. The crowd chanted ``Allahu Akbar,″ or ``God is great.″

Hezbollah is the most active of guerrilla groups fighting to end the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

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