Israel Raids Palestinian Base, One Guerrilla Killed
Sep. 25, 1986
SIDON, Lebanon (AP) _ Israeli fighter jets rocketed a Palestinian guerrilla base Thursday in an olive grove on the edge of Sidon, and the base commander said one man was killed and two wounded.
It was Israel's second air raid in Lebanon in three days and the 11th this year.
Police said six warplanes swooped in from the Mediterranean at 11:20 a.m. to strike the base on Ashrafieh Hill east of the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp.
In each sortie during the three-minute raid, three planes fired rockets at the base and three others provided protection, police said. State-run Beirut radio reported extensive damage.
In Tel Aviv, Israel's military command confirmed the raid and said the pilots reported accurate hits on several tents making up a base of the Fatah guerrilla faction led by Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat.
Guerrilla sources said the base was used by the Palestine Liberation Army, the PLO's military arm.
The base commander, who identified himself only as Alaa, told The Associated Press that one guerrilla was killed and two others were slightly wounded by shrapnel.
Alaa said the injured guerrillas were taken to the Palestine Red Crescent hospital in the nearby Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp.
Guerrilla sources said the base, made up of several tents and foxholes, had dozens of .50-caliber anti-aircraft machine guns and 106-mm recoilless rifles.
Police said the guerrillas fired anti-aircraft guns at the raiding planes and ground-to-air SA-7 missiles, but the Israeli pilots released heat balloons that deflected the fire away from the planes.
On Tuesday, Israeli warplanes destroyed bases of Syrian-backed Palestinian guerrilla factions in hills east and southeast of Beirut. Two Lebanese Druse militiamen were reported wounded.
The raids followed a threat by Israel to strike at Iranian-backed Shiite Moslem fundamentalists who have been escalating guerrilla attacks on Israel's self-proclaimed ''security zone'' in south Lebanon. Israel has maintained troops in the zone, which extends up to 10 miles inside the Lebanese border, since withdrawing its forces from the rest of Lebanon in June 1985 after a three-year occupation.
Israel massed troops and armor on its northern frontier Monday, and there were reports it was poised for a cross-border thrust to crack down on the Shiites. But the troops were redeployed in the next two days without a major incursion.