Israeli jet fighters attacked Palestinian camps east of the South Lebanon coastal town of Sidon Tuesday morning, about 12 hours after five Israeli soldiers and two Arab guerrillas died in a clash in South Lebanon, the Israeli army said.
An army spokesman said the targeted camps were used by backers of Abu Nidal, whose real name is Sabri Khalil al-Banna, and Naif Hawatmeh, who heads the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The army believes the camps are staging areas for attacks against Israel.Spokesmen for the Abu Nidal and Hawatmeh organizations in Beirut said five people had been killed and five others wounded in the air raid about 25 miles south of the capital of Beirut.
An Israeli army spokesman said the guerrillas involved in the clash late Monday in Israel's self-proclaimed security zone in southern Lebanon were associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, headed by George Habash.
The clash took place after Israeli troops opened fire on four guerrillas they believed were trying to infiltrate Israel, the army spokesman said. The spokesman said the close-range exchange included hand gre-nades as well as guns.
One Israeli soldier was also injured in the fighting, and he was flown to a hospital in the northern Israel city of Haifa. The army said two guerrillas escaped.
The fighting took place near the Lebanese town of Sheb'a north of the Golan Heights and southwest of Mt. Hermon, in rugged terrain where Israeli soldiers and gunmen have battled before.
Israeli army spokesmen said the military believes the increased activity in the southern part of Lebanon is related to the recent evacuation of warring Christian and Moslem militias from the immediate Beirut area. Many of those fighters have drifted south, said the Israeli army.
Israel established the security zone in the mid-1980s after its ill-fated invasion of Lebanon to provide a buffer against attacks. The area stretches about 62 miles from east to west along the Israel-Lebanon frontier.