Israel's commando attack on Beirut International Airport is being applauded almost unanimously by the Israeli public and strongly deplored by other nations.
Night scene of planes on fire at Beirut Airport, Day scenes of damaged and destroyed planes at airport.
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Background: Israel's commando attack on Beirut International Airport is being applauded almost unanimously by the Israeli public and strongly deplored by other nations.
The Israeli press, public officials, and civilians saw the Saturday night (28 December) raid as a necessary reprisal for an attack by Arab commandos Thursday (26 December) on an Israeli airliner. The Israeli government claims the Arab commando group was based in Lebanon.
The United States condemned the attack. So did France, the Soviet Union and the Arab nations. The British government indicated it would express its concern over the incident. An Egyptian spokesman said a peaceful settlement of the Middle East crisis certainly is in doubt now.
A small group of Israeli commandos landed their helicopters at the busy late Saturday and methodically destroyed thirteen Lebanese civilian aircraft worth about 35,000,000 dollars. Petroleum dumps were also blown up. Planes belonging to other nations were not damaged. The raid was carried out without any loss of life to either side.
Twelve hours later two Israeli jet fighters flew over the airport to assess the damage. They were not opposed by Lebanese fighters or anti-aircraft fire.
On Sunday (Dec. 30) Lebanon called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel.