Reports from Southern Lebanon say Israeli troops have set up roadblocks in the fighting zone just north of the Israeli border.
Reports from Southern Lebanon say Israeli troops have set up roadblocks in the fighting zone just north of the Israeli border. Travellers from the front, where Lebanese rightists have been battling Palestinians and Lebanese leftists, said Israeli forces were manning three road blocks between the Christian-held villages of Kleya and Adeyseh. Reports also say that the Israelis have set up seven fortified positions inside Lebanon.
SYNOPSIS: So far there has been no independent evidence that Israeli troops have been taking an active part in the fighting, but they are known to have provided tanks and other armoured vehicles to the Lebanese Christian forces. Israel continues to maintain official silence about the latest reports telling of new incursions by Israeli troops into southern Lebanon. Fighting between rightist Christians and Palestinians has been escalating and Israel has warned that it doesn't want the Syrian peacekeepers in the immediate border area of southern Lebanon.
A Reuters correspondent who visited a Lebanese market town near the Israeli border reported fierce artillery duels between Palestinians and right wing Falangists. And the Palestine Liberation Organisation said three Israeli tanks had been knocked out during an assault West of Bind Jbeil near the border.
Meanwhile at an army memorial service in central Israel on Tuesday (20 September), the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin said his country was prepared to immediately take part in cease-fire talks to end the fighting in southern Lebanon. He said Israel had always had always been ready for peace and would do everything to achieve it. But he added that Israel would be ready to defend itself if this became necessary.
Arab reaction to Israeli involvement has been swift. Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned it what termed a concentrated Israeli attack in southern Lebanon and was following developments closely. Saudi Arabia warned that the fighting could jeopardise world peace and stability. And in Washington the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi on Thursday (22 September) accused Israel of trying to slow progress towards a Middle East peace by engaging in what it called naked aggression.