Israel bombs guerrilla stronghold after attacks, civilian wounded
Lebanon-Israel, Military, 3/4/1998
Israeli warplanes raided guerrilla strongholds in south Lebanon and shelled villages facing an Israeli-occupied enclave, wounding one civilian Tuesday, security sources said.
The latest escalation came two days ahead of a scheduled trip by Israeli officials to Europe to discuss U.N. Resolution 425 and an Israeli offer to implement it in return for security guarantees.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel wants to implement the resolution, which calls for an unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon, if the Lebanese government pledges to rein in Hizbullah guerrillas.
Netanyahu will begin Thursday a European tour that includes Spain, Germany, Norway and Britain to explain the Israeli offer. Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, meanwhile, will travel to France and Holland for the same purpose.
France has offered to mediate between Israel and Lebanon in case of an Israeli withdrawal. The Lebanese government, however, has rejected the withdrawal offer, saying Israel must withdraw without any preconditions.
Also on hand to discuss the offer will be Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa, who will arrive in Beirut Wednesday. Sharaa is scheduled to meet with his Lebanese counterpart Fares Boueiz and President Elias Hrawi.
On Tuesday, Israeli jets raided suspected positions of the Hizbullah guerrilla group near Aqmata in Iqlim al-Tuffah, firing four missiles in two sorties over the area.
Israeli artillery also opened up on villages facing the Israeli-occupied enclave, wounding one Lebanese civilian.
Security sources said Leila Birro, 25, was wounded in Israeli shelling of the village of Rihan on the edge of the security zone and was being treated in a hospital in Nabatiyeh.
The shelling was in retaliation to a series of Hizbullah attacks against Israeli positions in south Lebanon. A Hizbullah statement said its fighters ambushed the Israeli Sujoud outpost with mortars and machine guns, scoring direct hits.
Guerrillas also attacked Israeli positions in Dabshe, Blat and Bir Kallab.
Meanwhile, the Israeli forces continued their siege of al-Tiban border town for the second week. Lebanese security sources said the occupation forces which prevent people from getting into or leaving the town, attacked the houses of the town, inspected them and arrested a number of Lebanese civilians. The sources added that the detainees were imprisoned in al-Khiam jail under charges of cooperating with the Lebanese resistance.
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