Israeli warplanes and artillery batteries pounded Palestinian guerrilla positions in Lebanon today, and the Palestinians responded with heavy shelling of northern Israeli settlements, in the second day of intensive cross-border fighting triggered by the attempted assassination of an Israeli diplomat in London.
Palestinian officials said in Lebanon that today's raids killed more than 130 people and wounded 250, bringing the two-day death toll of the raids to nearly 200, Washington Post special correspondent Nora Boustany reported from southern Lebanon. Lebanese authorities said 40 were confirmed dead today, but they said that the widely scattered rescue operations made it difficult to give an accurate count. Details on Page A31.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Faud Boutros, condemning the bombing of southern Beirut yesterday and the renewed raids today, sharply criticized other Arab countries for offering neither support nor condolences to his country for its heavy losses in the fighting between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
"It is as if Lebanon has become Palestine, but Lebanon is not Palestine and never will be," he said on Lebanese state television.
The U.N. Security Council, meeting at Lebanon's request, voted unanimously for both sides to cease fire "immediately and simultaneously" and no later than midnight Saturday EDT.
In Versailles, France, Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. called the Israeli bombing of Lebanon "very serious" and said Middle East negotiator Philip C. Habib, who is now in London, might come to Paris Sunday to discuss new efforts to reinstate the July 1981 cease-fire. Haig told a news conference that the United States is "making extensive diplomatic efforts" to bring about a new cease-fire.
The Israeli Army command said that following a night-long "massive" barrage of Palestinian Katuysha rocket, artillery and tank fire on Israeli settlements near the frontier, waves of Israeli jets began attacking PLO strongholds stretching from Damour in the north to the guerrilla-held Beaufort Castle, a crusades-era ruin overlooking the Litani River four miles north of the frontier.
Officials of the U.N. peace-keeping force in southern Lebanon said the Israeli Army moved batteries of heavy artillery and armored vehicles into the Marjayoun area, six miles inside Lebanon, and blanketed guerrilla concentrations "in all areas" of southern Lebanon.
"The infantry hasn't moved across yet. Maybe later," said Timur Goksel, chief military spokesman of the U.N. force in Lebanon, in a telephone interview from U.N. headquarters in Naqurah. When asked if there was evidence of a possible Israeli ground assault, Goksel replied, "We can't say anything until they move across."
Israeli officials would not respond to questions about a possible infantry incursion across the border.
Goksel said there was "no letup" to the air strikes and artillery barrages and that the Israeli jets were bombing bridges in southern Lebanon, including the Kazmir Bridge, which was bombed in air raids last July and then rebuilt.
He said Israeli jets attacked the Damour region "nonstop" for two hours in repeated sorties and that throughout the day aircraft bombed Beaufort, which the PLO uses as an observation post and artillery emplacement.
An Israeli Army spokesman said the air strikes began at 10 a.m. after a night in which an estimated 300 shells fell on Israeli civilian settlements in the Galilee panhandle that juts north to Metulla, between the Lebanese border and the Golan Heights. Two persons were injured and one man died of a heart attack during the barrage.
Most of the residents of Metulla, Qiryat Shemona and the smaller settlements that line the frontier remained in bomb shelters, but authorities said there was extensive property damage.
Residents of northern Israel described the shelling as worse than during the "mini" war of attrition last summer, which ended when the PLO and Israel agreed to a cease-fire arranged by Habib.
Habib is expected to return to the region this week in an attempt to restore the cease-fire. It first broke down May 9 with the first exchange of cross-border fire after Israeli jets bombed Palestinian positions along the Mediterranean coast in retaliation for the wounding of an Israeli soldier by a road mine planted in southern Lebanon.
Yesterday's Israeli bombing attack on Beirut, which triggered an artillery duel across the border, was precipitated by the shooting Thursday night in London of Israel's ambassador to Britain, Shlomo Argov. He remained in critical condition today following brain surgery. The PLO has denied responsibility for the shooting.
In a statement issued today, the Israeli Defense Forces said, "The government instructed the IDF U.N. Interim Defense Forces to renew the attack on terrorist targets in Lebanon, such as sources of fire and bases that serve as centers of terrorism against Israel and international terror."
The Army command said Palestinian targets were hit in the vicinity of Damour, Sidon, the Zahrani River, Nabatiyah, Tibnin, the Arnoun Heights and Beaufort on the heights. The Voice of Lebanon radio said Israeli jets flew over Beirut and the port of Tripoli, creating sonic booms, but did not attack.
Besides firing on the northern Israeli settlements, PLO gunners shelled the south Lebanese towns of Marjayoun and Qulayah, where the United Nations said the Israeli Army and Christian militias had positioned artillery batteries.