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  • seekvalue seekvalue Aug 26, 1998 4:01 AM Flag

    NEWS- > Fighting erups in mideast (fr


    Tuesday, August 25,1998 - 05:52
    PM ET (CBS) Hours after Israeli Air-Force
    helicopters rocketed and killed a senior Lebanese guerilla
    commander, a volley of Katyusha rockets slammed into
    Northern Israel Tuesday. Local radio reports say 14
    Israelis were lightly injured in the cross-border rocket
    attack and that residents were ordered into bomb
    shelters by loudspeakers.

    The Israeli Army
    reportedly returned fire in the direction of the attack,
    causing hundreds of Lebanese civilians to flee their
    homes in fear of massive retaliation.

    attack came after Hossam al-Amin, who was thought to be
    the second-in-command of the military faction of
    Shiite Amal, was killed as he was driving along the
    south Lebanese coastal road not far from the Israeli

    Guerrilla groups have been waging a war
    of attrition to force Israeli soldiers out of
    Lebanon. The Israeli army first entered Lebanon in 1978 to
    stop cross-border raids by Palestinian guerillas, who
    used that country as a staging ground for attacks
    against Israel.

    In the last several years, the
    nature of the conflict has changed dramatically and the
    fighting has intensified. The two sides exchange fire
    almost every day, and both countries have suffered heavy

    Cross-border rocket attacks are unusual
    and run the risk of seriously escalating the lengthy
    conflict. After similar rocket assaults in 1996, Israel
    began a 17-day air offensive against guerrilla targets
    in which over 100 Lebanese civilians were killed.

    After the fighting, Israel and Lebanon both signed a
    cease-fire agreement in which both countries promised not to
    target one another's civilian populations.

    Israeli army confirmed that several rockets also landed
    in the Western Galilee area on Tuesday, and Israel
    radio said electricity had been knocked out in dozens
    of Kibbutz settlements in the area.

    Aloni, a resident of Kiryat Shemona, said Tuesday that a
    first round of rockets landed in the center of town of
    14,000 people around 9:45 p.m. local time. One rocket
    crashed into the house next door but no one was home, he
    said. "Other neighbors ran to shelters," Aloni told
    Israel radio.

    Samir Sulidan, a resident of
    another northern community, told Army radio that rockets
    landed in his settlement as well. There was damage but
    no injuries, he said.

    "People are in panic,
    in panic and fear. There are the wails of women and
    children," he said. He did not identify his village when he
    spoke to Army radio.

    The Israeli army usually
    warns civilians when there is a high probability of
    incoming rockets, ushering them into public shelters, but
    Sulidan said there was no such warning prior to Tuesday's

    The Israeli army said its attack earlier
    in the day was a payback for Amal's recent assaults
    on Israeli positions in Israel's self-styled
    security zone in Southern Lebanon.

    Five hours
    before the Lebanese rockets fell, Israeli Defense
    Minister Yitzhak Mordechai warned both Amal and Hezbollah,
    a larger and more active Iranian-backed guerrilla
    group, not to retaliate.

    "I would not advise
    anyone on the other side to take action in response. We
    reserve the right and have legitimate cause to act as
    long as we need to against leaders of terrorism and
    terrorism itself wherever it is found," Mordechai said,
    speaking to reporters.

    Israeli warplanes Tuesday
    also attacked suspected guerrilla hideouts in south
    Lebanon, reportedly injuring six civilians including a
    child and one guerrilla.�1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All
    rights reserved. This material may not be published,
    broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press
    and Reuters contributed to this report.

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