Israel Begins Pull out from Forward Positions in Southern Lebanon

Published May 2nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israel began pulling out of two fortified forward positions in southern Lebanon in preparation for its planned complete withdrawal from the zone by July 7, a military spokesman said. 

Communications equipment was dismantled at Tzipporen fort in the north of the zone Israel has occupied for 22 years, while munitions from the small fort, 100 meters from the de facto Israeli-Lebanese border, were brought further back. 

The Israeli press reported that the sand dunes around the two small fortified positions were flattened by tractors. 

The daily Yediot Aharonot said Tuesday that most Israeli security officials believe that the pro-Israeli South Lebanon Army (SLA) should be allowed to hang on to equipment provided by Israel, from light arms to tanks. 

The Israeli security cabinet began discussions with military chiefs this week on the modalities of their retreat from the occupied zone. 

Special UN Middle East envoy Terje Larsen, who is heading a top-level mission to consult with regional leaders, is due to fly to Beirut tomorrow following the completion of official discussions with Israeli officials over the withdrawal plans.  

According to the Jerusalem Post Teusday, the mission, which includes lawyers, cartographers, and technical experts, made its final preparations for the key talks with Lebanese leaders. In the meantime, fighting continued in south Lebanon.  

A South Lebanese Army (SLA) soldier was lightly wounded when shells fired from a recoilless rifle and several mortar rounds struck the SLA's Ghazlan outpost in the northeastern sector of the security zone.  

He was treated at the scene and later transferred to Marjayoun hospital in the security zone. IDF and SLA gunners returned fire – (Several Sources).  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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