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Israeli Air Raid in Southeast Lebanon; Six Wounded

December 17, 1991

RASHAYA, Lebanon (AP) _ Israeli warplanes struck a suspected Palestinian guerrilla base in southeast Lebanon today, Lebanese and Israeli officials said. Six people were reported wounded.

The attack near Sultan Yaqoub, about 10 miles north of Rashaya, was the first Israeli air raid in southern Lebanon in about a month.

A Lebanese police spokesman said two jets rocketed areas believed controlled by the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command, headed by headed by Ahmed Jibril. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

He said two Popular Front guerrillas were slightly wounded in the two- minute strike on the base. Three local reporters and a guerrilla were wounded when delayed-action rockets exploded two hours after the attack.

The correspondents were identified as Associated Press reporter Shibli Abi Assi, Agence France-Presse reporter Taher Abu Hamdan, and Visnews cameraman Saeed Maalawi.

Police said Abi Assi had a slight head wound, Maalawi was wounded in his left leg and Abu Hamdan in his left shoulder. They and the guerrilla member were inspecting the area when the rockets exploded.

The four were taken to a nearby hospital. Police did not give further details.

It was Israel’s 23rd air raid on Lebanon this year.

In Jerusalem, the military command said the base, 30 miles north of the Israeli border, was used to launch attacks against the Jewish state.

Such attacks could complicate Middle East peace talks in Washington.

In 1982, Sultan Yacoub was the site of a tank battle between Israeli and Syrian forces. Three Israeli soldiers are still missing from the clash.

Information about the servicemen has been sought as part of U.N. Secretary- General Javier Perez de Cuellar’s efforts to secure the freedom of Western hostages held in Lebanon.

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