Israeli military sources have denied any involvement in Friday's (24 August) continued heavy shelling of the port city of Tyre in southern Lebanon.
Israeli military sources have denied any involvement in Friday's (24 August) continued heavy shelling of the port city of Tyre in southern Lebanon. The Israelis say that Major Saad Haddad's Christian militia forces are equipped with 155 MM field guns capable of the artillery attacks. Both Major Haddad and the Israelis consider Tyre to be the headquarters of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Lebanese Leftist forces active in southern Lebanon.
SYNOPSIS: Several civilians were killed and much of the city's ancient Christian quarter was destroyed in Friday's heavy shelling (24 August). The Palestine Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.) said last June that it had moved its regional offices out of the port city in an effort to protect the civilian population.
Military sources in Tel Aviv claim that Tyre is still under the control of the P.L.O. and that many guerrillas are present in the city. The Israelis say their information is based on many indications; including recent guerrilla attacks against United Nations troops in Tyre.
The bombardment, the heaviest in Tyre in months, began at dawn on Friday (24 August), slackened for a time, then resumed with fresh intensity. It turned much of the biblical city's Christian quarter into a field of ruins. Sixteen buildings, including a Greek Orthodox church were wrecked and Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox bishoprics were hit.
In Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Selim Al Hoss urgently summoned the United States Ambassador, John Gunther Dean, and urged the United States to persuade Israel to halt the attacks on the south. A day earlier, he was caught in an artillery barrage as he toured Nabatiyeh, a small town near Tyre.
The shelling caused a fresh exodus of civilians from Tyre, leaving the city centre nearly deserted.
Israel has often claimed its target is the Palestinian commando bases. However, Friday's shelling hit mostly civilian districts.