Israeli planes hit Lebanon targets as 'warning'
Raids come day after rockets hit Israel
August 20, 1997
Web posted at: 4:10 p.m. EDT (2010 GMT)
LEBANON (CNN) -- Israeli warplanes attacked suspected guerrilla bases and other targets inside Lebanon Wednesday in what the Israeli army termed a limited "warning" to the Lebanese government and Islamic militants against further attacks on Israel.
The raids came a day after Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon fired dozens of rockets into Israel.
Lebanese officials reported four people wounded in the Israeli plane's missile and bomb attacks. No Israeli planes were hit. Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri denounced the raids and accused Israel of fueling instability in the Middle East.
According to the Israeli army and Lebanese security officials the raids targeted:
- Hezbollah guerrilla positions in the village of Janta, about 40 miles (64 km) east of Beirut, in the Bekka Valley of eastern Lebanon.
- A location near a Lebanese army position in southern Lebanon.
- A water and electricity complex in Jiye, near the port city of Sidon. The attack damaged a high-tension electrical line in the town 20 miles (32 km) south of Beirut.
- A civilian car in the southern village of Toufahta between Sidon and Tyre. The rockets missed the car and hit an orange grove.
Why these targets were chosen
In a statement issued in Jerusalem, the Israeli army said it had singled out an artillery battery of the Lebanese army that had joined in battles Monday between Hezbollah guerrillas and an Israeli-allied militia.
Israeli sources said the Lebanese military position deliberately was not hit. The intention, the source said, was to show that the Israeli army would not be restrained if the Lebanese army cooperated with the Hezbollah.
The attack on the power lines was the first Israeli military strike on Lebanese economic installations since its large incursion into Lebanon in April 1996.
The army said it was acting "in order to make clear to the Lebanese government that it must start reining in Hezbollah and stop Hezbollah attacks on Israeli settlements."
The strikes came a day after Hezbollah fired at least 45 Katyusha rockets into northern Israel, injuring several civilians. It was the heaviest assault in more than a year.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah, or Party of God, said it was retaliating for Monday's bombardment of Sidon by Israeli-backed Lebanese militiamen which killed six civilians and wounded 35.
That attack prompted rare public criticism of the militia from Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's adviser David Bar-Illan said Israel "cannot sanction this kind of indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas."
Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler, Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and Reuters contributed to this report.