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Israeli Jets Attack Lebanon

April 2, 1998

SIDON, Lebanon (AP) _ Israeli warplanes and artillery attacked suspected guerrilla bases in southern Lebanon on Thursday, killing a farmer a day after Israel’s government endorsed a U.N. resolution calling for its withdrawal from the border enclave.

Two Israeli jets fired four air-to-surface missiles on hills near the village of Loueizeh in Iqlim al-Tuffah, a Hezbollah stronghold that faces the Israeli-occupied enclave, Lebanese security officials said.

Shortly afterward, a 33-year-old farmer was killed in shelling from the Israeli-held area while he drove his tractor outside the largely deserted village, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The area is about 10 miles southeast of Sidon, the provincial capital of southern Lebanon.

Thursday’s air strike came a day after Israel’s Cabinet voted to adopt a 1978 U.N. resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon. Israel demanded security guarantees against guerrilla attacks on its territory and protection for its allied militiamen.

Lebanon and neighboring Syria have rejected the Israeli offer, insisting on an unconditional withdrawal.

Israel’s coordinator for Lebanon policy, Uri Lubrani, reiterated Thursday that there would be no Israeli troop withdrawal until the Lebanese government agrees to discuss security arrangements.

Israel and Lebanon have to be able to ``look each other in the eye and say, `Look, there are these risks and these problems and we have to solve them,‴ Lubrani said.

Lebanese Information Minister Bassem al-Sabei said Thursday in Beirut that the Israeli demand for security arrangements was tantamount ``to punishing the resistance which fought for Lebanon and rewarding Israel’s allies.″

Hezbollah’s leader also rejected the Israeli offer.

``The only logical and acceptable solution is an unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from our land,″ said Hezbollah Secretary-General Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah is leading a guerrilla war to dislodge the 1,500 Israeli soldiers and 2,500 allied Lebanese militiamen from the border zone. Israel set up the enclave along the border in Lebanon in 1985 after two invasions of the country.

Nasrallah said Lebanese government forces would be in charge of security in the border zone but refused to say whether Hezbollah would end its guerrilla war after an Israeli pullout.

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