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Three Villagers Wounded In Assault By Israeli Troops, Allies

September 17, 1988

HASBAYA, Lebanon (AP) _ Israeli troops and allied South Lebanon Army militiamen backed by helicopter gunships mounted a two-pronged assault against Shiite moslem and leftist guerrillas in south Lebanon on Friday, police reported.

A police spokesman said at least three Lebanese villagers were wounded and more than 10 houses sustained severe damage in the attack. It was apparently aimed at blunting increased guerrilla activity against Israel.

At least two helicopter gunships flew several strafing runs in the fields around the two villages attacked, said the spokesman, who cannot be identified under standing regulations.

A police spokesman said troops and militiamen in 14 armored cars and armored personnel carriers rolled into the Shiite Moslem village of Mimes, three miles north of the security zone, at 4:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. EDT).

Another force of 15 armored cars and armored personnel carriers attacked simultaneously the Shiite village of Ain Atta in the foothills of Mount Hermon, five miles north of the border enclave, the spokesman said.

The spokesman, who cannot be identified under standing regulations, said at least 250 troops and militiamen were taking part in the operation.

In Israel, an army spokesman said he knew nothing about the attack.

It came only a day after Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Mustafa Tlas inspected Syrian army forward positions in the western Bekaa valley, about three miles from the targets of the Israeli attack.

The attacking force appeared to be searching for Iranian-backed Shiite guerrillas and Syrian-backed leftists who have lately been active against the security zone from the slopes of Mount Hermon, the spokesman said.

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