INTRODUCTION: In Lebanon, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Mr. Yasser Arafat, has?
INTRODUCTION: In Lebanon, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Mr. Yasser Arafat, has made a visit to a secret PLO training camp in South Lebanon to watch Fatah recruits take in military manoeuvres.
SYNOPSIS: The military manoeuvres were held on Sunday (2 July) under the strictest security measures. Reports said the aim of the exercise was a simulated attack on a settlement in occupied territory.
Mr. Arafat, who has repelled a call for a change in the PLO leadership in recent weeks, watched the exercise from a distance. Live ammunition was used throughout the day. A PLO spokesman said the idea was to give the fighters as close full combat experience as possible and many rounds landed within metres of troops taking part.
However there were no casualties reported in the operation and the troops appeared satisfied with the way things had gone. The exercise came the day after fighting between Syrian troops and right-wing militias broke out in the capital of Beirut. Although the PLO was heavily involved in the 1976 Lebanese civil war no reports from Beirut have yet linked the organisation with the present fighting.
In a speech to his troops the PLO leader criticised the United States and said he was disappointed with President Carter's direct condemnation of him last week in connection with a bomb explosion in Jerusalem. Mr. Arafat also noted that the United States had done little about alleged Israeli use of cluster bombs during its invasion of South Lebanon in March which left hundreds of civilians dead and insured.