Tension in the Middle East heightened over the weekend (23/24 August) as Israeli fighters shot down a Syrian plane over southern Lebanon and demolished the house of an Arab villager on the West Bank.
GV EXT Cafe in Rayfon Lebanon, where bomb was planted with damaged awning and chairs. (3 SHOTS)
SV Crater in road where bomb exploded.
SV Toys on tables of cafe and bloodstain on floor with more scattered toys. (2 SHOTS)
SV & GV Cars wrecked in explosion.
GV Armed rightist militiamen directing traffic.
LV Village of Klea southern Lebanon and main road.
CU Shell buried in road.
SV Electrician repairing telegraph wires. (3 SHOTS)
SV Christian militia tank.
GV Petrol station at Abu Ghosh, Israel where bomb exploded.
SV Damaged cars and exploded petrol pumps with firemen sifting through rubble. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Sapper examining area.
SCU Signpost for Yatta, West Bank.
GV Destroyed houses with Arab families looking through debris. (5 SHOTS)
GV PAN Wreckage of shot-down fighter plane in southern Lebanon. (3 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Tension in the Middle East heightened over the weekend (23/24 August) as Israeli fighters shot down a Syrian plane over southern Lebanon and demolished the house of an Arab villager on the West Bank. Palestinian guerrillas meanwhile have claimed responsibility for a number of bombing and artillery attacks and the situation is further aggravated by an internal power struggle in Lebanon.
SYNOPSIS: An explosion outside a cafe in Rayfon on Sunday (24 August) killed five people and injured another 30. The Lebanese mountain resort of Rayfon is a predominantly Christian village, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) north-east of Beirut. The blast left a sizeable crater in the road outside the cafe, packed with holiday-makers at the time of the explosion. Blood-stained toys were a grim reminder of the bomb's devastating effect. It is not clear who was responsible for the blast, but there is speculation that it was the result of a power struggle between rival right-wing Christian groups.
The bomb was hidden in a car and triggered by a booby-trap. Several other cars were also wrecked in the explosion.
Soon after the blast, armed rightist militiamen sealed off the area. They checked cars and directed traffic in an attempt to forestall any repetition of the attack.
In southern Lebanon, the village of Klea came under shell-fire on friday night (22 August). Palestinian guerrillas shot Ketuysha shells at the village, but no one was hurt.
The only casualties were the village's telegraph lines which were quickly repaired over the weekend, and a tank belonging to the Israeli-backed Christian militia forces, with whom the Palestinians are fighting for control of the area.
A far more violent attack was the Palestinian bombing of a petrol station at Abu Ghosh, just outside Jerusalem on Sunday (24 August). The bomb was hidden in a waste bin on the forecourt. One man was killed and 12 people wounded when the explosion wrecked two cars waiting for fuel, blew out the windows of a snackbar and started a fire. The blaze was put out before it reached the pumps and petrol stores. The petrol station was owned by an Israeli Arab and the Palestine Liberation Organisation later claimed responsibility.
In Yatta on the West Bank, Israeli security forces demolished the house of an Arab villager after he admitted killing an Israeli seminary student last January. The killing caused a series of violent incidents, including the destruction of Arab cars by Israeli settlers and stone-throwing attacks by Arab youths. These culminated in the killing of six Israelis in Hebron and the maiming of two Arab mayors in car bomb attacks.
The weekend's most spectacular incident however was the shooting down of a Syrian MiG 21 in a dogfight with Israeli war planes over southern Lebanon on Sunday. According to the Israelis, the Syrians tried to intercept a routine reconnaissance patrol, but were immediately repelled. It was the first aerial clash since last September, when the Israelis destroyed four MiGs. Observers fear it marks the beginning of escalating clashes between Israeli and Palestinian guerrilla forces and their supporters.