The Christian Militia have shelled Lebanese army units moving into the south of the country and have proclaimed political independence for their border strongholds.
The Christian Militia have shelled Lebanese army units moving into the south of the country and have proclaimed political independence for their border strongholds. The Lebanese army is making an effort under United Nations pressure to reassert its authority in the region along Israel's northern border.
SYNOPSIS: The Christian Militia attacked the five hundred strong Lebanese army force as they moved into United Nations controlled territory. They were heading for the town of Derdghaiya. The Lebanese army split into Moslem and Christian factions during the 1976 civil war in Lebanon and the move into Militia held areas is a major test for the government troops.
Lebanese sources said two Army soldiers were wounded in the shelling.
At Derdghaiya artillery shells fell within twenty-five metres of the new headquarters of the Lebanese army. According to a Reuters correspondent travelling with the army contingent the troops seem vulnerable to Militia attack and don't have the weaponry to reply to the one hundred and fifty-five millimetre guns and Sherman tanks supplied to the Militia by Israel. The correspondent adds that the deployment of the Lebanese army in the area is unlikely to in practical terms affect the military status quo... in southern Lebanon. South of Derdghaiya at the UN headquarters at Nadoura eight soldiers of the peace keeping force were injured in a mortar and rocket attack by the Molitia. The Security Council has condemned the attack.
In Metullah, northern Israel the Militia commander Major Saad Haddad announced:
The Lebanese government had accused Major Haddad of mutiny and cashiered him from the army, while leader of the Lebanese leftists Walid Jumblatt claimed that Israel and the Christian Militia aim to partition Lebanon.