Israeli ground and air forces struck at Arab guerrilla bases in southern Lebanon on Wednesday (21 June) and captured a Syrian brigadier-general and four colonels -- the most senior Syrian officers taken by Israel since the June 1967 war.
SV ZOOM IN TO CV Hamani talking to reporter
SAID HAMANI TALKING TO REPORTER.
Initials OS/224 OS/230
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Israeli ground and air forces struck at Arab guerrilla bases in southern Lebanon on Wednesday (21 June) and captured a Syrian brigadier-general and four colonels -- the most senior Syrian officers taken by Israel since the June 1967 war. The Syrians, all intelligence officers, were seized by an Israeli unit after a brief gun battle near the Mediterranean coast.
At the same time, according to Lebanese sources, Israeli aircraft and artillery attacked Lebanon's southeastern Arquob region, killing about 30 Arab commandos and 14 civilians, many in Hasbaiya township.
The Israeli attacks came after three weeks of tension in the area following the Lydda Airport shooting on 30 May, when Japanese gunmen, acting for a Palestinian commando group, killed or wounded more than 100 people.
Israeli forces have struck repeatedly into southern Lebanon in the past three years in attempts to neutralise Palestinian commandos operating there. But until Wednesday the border had remained relatively quiet, since a massive four-day Israeli thrust into the Arquob region the end of February.
In London, and official spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.), Said Hamani, gave his reactions to the Israeli attack. He told VISNEWS reporter Brendan Farrow that the Israeli action had been expected because of the state of war in the Middle East and because his organisation exists in southern Lebanon as military forces. Mr. Hamani said that there are 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, represented, armed and trained by the P.L.O. He said the refugees have a right to fight to go back and liberate their homeland.
Asked if P.L.O. actions against Israel would continue, even though Israel can hit back harder, Mr. Hamani said the actions would continue even though the P.L.O. expected Israel to hit back harder than it did on Wednesday. The end would come, he said, when the Palestinians are given the right to self-determination.