At least 10 are killed in IAF strike on terrorist base

JERUSALEM — At least 10 people were killed and over 20 wounded in an Israel Air Force attack on a training base of a Palestinian terrorist group in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon on Wednesday of last week.

The air raid was aimed at a base of the Syrian-backed Abu Musa group near Ta'anael, only a few miles from the Syrian border. The area is under the umbrella of Syria's anti-aircraft missile batteries, although none was fired during the air raid, which took place shortly after 1 a.m.

The strike apparently was aimed at preventing a planned attack on Israeli targets by the organization, which broke away from the mainstream Fatah in 1983 and is opposed to the peace process.

According to reports from Lebanon, IAF planes came in from the Mediterranean, flew across the country and hit the base in at least three separate sorties, taking the terrorists by surprise while they were asleep.

The Israel Defense Force spokesman issued a statement saying that the pilots reported accurate hits and that all the planes returned safely to base.

The Abu Musa organization is not considered very strong. It has carried out a number of raids, but the last one was an attempt to infiltrate Israel from near Mount Dov over a year ago.

Senior defense officials insisted that no civilians were killed or wounded in the attack and that Israel was not interested in harming the understandings reached with Hezbollah during the Grapes of Wrath operation two years ago, which bar attacks on civilians on both sides.

The air raid was denounced by Hezbollah, which issued a statement saying that it "shows Israel's true colors" which are not directed toward peace.