Israel Carries out Air Raids over Southern Lebanon

Published May 17th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli warplanes carried out a series of raids on strongholds of the Hizbollah group in southern Lebanon after nightfall Wednesday, Lebanese police said. 

They fired two missiles on the outskirts of the village of Oqmata in the Iqlim al-Tuffah hills at about 9:15 p.m. (1815 GMT), and followed up the raid shortly afterwards by twice sweeping over the hills of Birkit Jabbur and Jabal Qotrani in the south of the Syrian-controlled Bekaa valley, where they dropped a total of four missiles. 

The police had no immediate report of casualties. 

Earlier Wednesday evening Israeli planes fired about 20 missiles at a road just outside the Israeli-occupied zone of southern Lebanon, sweeping across the area eight times in 30 minutes, security services said. 

Police said they appeared to be targeting a vehicle belonging to Hizbollah on the two-kilometer (one mile) long road leading from the Iqlim al-Tuffah hills along the Zahrani river to the region of Nabatiyeh.  

Lebanese troops stationed in the area opened up with their anti-aircraft guns, but failed to hit any of the Israeli planes, the police added. 

One of the missiles fell close to inhabited houses in the village of Habbush. It did not explode, but the blast blew out the windows in a number of homes, the police said, without mentioning any casualties. 

As the raids were going on, Hizbollah continued to fire rockets and mortars at positions of the Israeli army and its proxy South Lebanon Army militia in the sector, the police said. 

Hizbollah's armed branch, the Islamic Resistance, claimed responsibility for several attacks, in particular against the Israeli positions of Rihan, in the central part of the occupied zone, and Aabbad, much further west, on the international border. 

Nine mortar shells fell around each position as cranes were dismantling them in the run-up to Israel's withdrawal from the zone, which it has pledged to complete by July 7, security services in the zone said. 

They made no mention of casualties among the Israelis. 

Another resistance movement, Amal, led by parliament speaker Nabih Berri, said it had attacked two SLA positions, and inflicting "deaths and injuries." The SLA confirmed the attacks, but denied anyone had been hurt -- SIDON, Lebanon (AFP)  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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