Israeli warplanes struck deep into Lebanon against Palestinian guerrilla bases today in the first retaliatory raids since the signing of the Middle East peace treaty.
Just five hours after a terrorist bomb exploded in Tel Aviv's open-air Carmel Market, killing one civilian and wounding 35, Israeli-based jets swept against Damour, 12 miles south of Beirut, and Ras al Ein, two miles southeast of the ancient port city of Tyre.
Military authorities said both towns served as training camps for Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists recruited from the occupied West Bank of the Jordan River for raids inside Israel.
While air strikes against bases operated by Fatah, the military wing of the PLO, have become common-place, today's attacks were the first since Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Although the PLO in Beirut claimed responsibility for the noon bombing in the crowded Tel Aviv marketplace, Israeli defense force officials refused to characterize the air strike as retaliatory.
An Army spokesman declined to say how many aircraft were involved in the strike, saying only "good hits" were made by the low-flying aircraft. The PLO reported dozens of casualties.
"We never define these missions as retaliatory, but of couse [the bomb in Tel Aviv] may have an effect on the timing," an Army officier said.
Damour and Ras al Ein were described as "permanent" Fatah bases that specialize in explosives training for terrorists who cross the open bridges from Israel to Jordan and make their way to Lebanon before returning by the same route to Israel.
The sprawling Carmel Market in Tel Aviv was brimming with shoppers stocking up for the upcoming Passover holiday when a passerby noticed a suspicious object near a vegetable stall and notified a civil defense guard. The guard shouted a warning but before shoppers could find cover, the bomb exploded, police officials said.
Authorities said the bomb consisted of about a pound of dynamite and that many of the injured suffered shrapnel wounds. Twenty persons remained hospitalized tonight.
Police arrested about 30 Arabs in the neighborhood, most of them for protection from enraged crowds of Jewish shoppers, authorities said. The PLO said its team escaped.
Since the first of the year, there have been 11 terrorist bombings in Israel, resulting in the deaths of seven civilians and the wounding of 169.
The air strike came at a particularly sensitive moment for the government because of diplomatic repercussions resulting from statements attributed to Egyptian Foreign Minister Butros Ghali to the effect that Egypt may extend assistance to the PLO."Because Egypt recognizes the PLO and because under the U.N. charter, the PLO is waging a liberation war."
Another possible indication of Israeli tension with Egypt was the announcement yesterday that Defense Minister Ezer Weizman had postponed his trip to Cairo scheduled for next Sunday. Deputy Prime Minister Yigael Yadin, who was to travel there about April 19, also is to go later than planned.
These announcements were interpreted by some observers as in retaliation for weekend remarks by Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil to the effect that despite the peace treaty with Israel, Egypt would aid Syria if it attacked Israel to free the occupied Golan Heights.
However, the Israeli explanation for Weizman's postponement was the overlap with Passover and was announced before the Khalil controversy came to a head. A spokesman stressed that Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, in a 90-minute staff briefing on the overall treaty issue, had not even mentioned the Khalil remarks. This indicated Israel's desire not to let the issue become devisive, the spokesman said.
In Cairo, Egypt also sought to play down the controversy. The official Middle East News Agency said Khalil had been widely misinterpreted. Egypt would side with Syria only if Israel refused to negotiate on withdrawal from the Golan Heights, the agency said.
Meanwhile in Cairo:
Egypt's 360-member Parliament overwhelmingly ratified the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, its annexes and interpretive letters today after a two-day debate. CAPTION: Map, no caption, By Dave Cook-The Washington Post