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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       April 10, 1996 V4, #64
All the News the Big Guys Missed

IAF Retaliates After Hizbullah Rockets Kiryat Shmona

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Israeli warplanes bombarded suspected guerrilla strongholds in southern Lebanon Tuesday in retaliation for cross-border rocket attacks launched by Hizbullah fighters. The Hizbullah justified their attack to avenge the death of a Lebanese teenager in a land mine explosion.

The Katyusha rocket attack into northern Israel left 13 Israelis wounded, most of them in Kiryat Shmona. In Beirut, Hizbullah fighters said the attack was launched to avenge the land mine death of a young Lebanese the night before. They blamed the death on Israel.

Israel denied planting the mine and UN peacekeepers there said they would investigate. But the Israeli army advised residents of northern Israel to spend the night in their bomb shelters just in case.

After the cross-border rocket attack early Tuesday, Israel sent warplanes over southern Lebanon to bombard suspected Hizbullah terrorist positions. The army also responded with artillery and tank fire.

Tensions have increased in recent weeks along the Lebanese-Israeli border, which remains the last active Arab-Israeli war front in the region. About 10 days ago Hizbullah fighters fired rockets into northern Israel after Israeli shelling killed two Lebanese civilians in what Israel said was an error.

So far, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres has resisted calls from politicians at home to use more force against Hizbullah. Instead he has called on Syria and the US to try to bring calm to the area.

Syria and Lebanon have always resisted calls to curb the pro-Iranian militants on the grounds they are legitimately resisting Israel's occupation of a self-declared security zone inside southern Lebanon. Peace talks between Lebanon and Israel hinge on an Israeli withdrawal from the area.

What Would it Take to End Hizbullah Actions?

By Edward Yeranian (VOA-Beirut)

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres continues to insist the Lebanese government stop the Shi'ite militant Hizbullah from attacking his troops in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah, which calls itself the Lebanese resistance, now wages a guerrilla war to drive the Israeli army out of the nine-mile border strip it occupies. Although Hizbullah appears fearsome to the West, it has lost much of the grip it once had on Lebanese society.

Today, most Lebanese worry about inflation and rebuilding, not about Islamic revolution. While the West is concerned about the spread of Islamic militants, Hizbullah looks more and more like a small, but vocal, minority in Lebanon.

Despite repeated rocket attacks against northern Israel and a terrorist war with the Israeli army, many long-time observers and academics say Hizbullah's clout as a political force appears to be waning. Threats to launch a wave of suicide bombings against Israeli troops are seen by many as an attempt to put pressure on Israel in peace talks with Syria.

When civil war ended in 1991, Hizbullah formed a political party with much of its strength coming from the poor and forgotten of Lebanon's Shi'ite community. Opinion polls indicate less than 20 percent of Lebanese Shi'ites now support Hizbullah.

In most Shi'ite neighborhoods, Hizbullah still maintains a high profile. It builds low-cost housing, runs health clinics and pays to educate children.

But with the civil war over, much of Lebanon appears to be embracing Western culture as anti-Western rallies organized by the group no longer draw a crowd. Less than 3,000 people turned out for a recent demonstration.

Hizbullah, which means -- Party of God -- in Arabic, was founded in 1982 by Iranian revolutionary guards. Now much of Hizbullah's encouragement appears to come from Syria, which has 35,000 troops stationed in Lebanon. Syrian President Hafez al Assad has said repeatedly Hizbullah has a right to resist Israeli occupation.

Israel remains a catalyst of resentment for many hard-liners in Hizbullah. Some, like former leader Soubhi Toufayli say they will continue to fight the Jewish state until it is destroyed.

Arab League Upset About Radioactive Leaks

By Jessica Jones (VOA-Cairo)

Officials of the Arab League met Tuesday to discuss reported radiation leaks at Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor. Arab League members say Israel should allow international teams to monitor its nuclear facilities. It says Israel should scrap its weapons and join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Israel's nuclear program has always been a concern of its Arab neighbors. There are reports Israel may have nearly 200 nuclear warheads.

Recent reports of leaks at Dimona have made the situation worse. Last month, Israeli media reported radioactive waste in the Negev desert is improperly stored in 30-year-old underground containers. But Egyptian officials at Tuesday's meeting said radiation levels have not increased on the border of Egypt and Israel, and the Israelis have said there is no cause for alarm.

Members of the Palestinian Authority called the Arab League meeting because they feared the effects of leaks in Gaza and the West Bank.

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