The Israeli Army lost two soldiers in hostile activity against its forces in southern Lebanon after nearly three weeks of relative calm there, the Army announced yesterday.
An Army statement said two soldiers were killed and 16 wounded Monday when an explosive charge went off as a transport truck passed along the main road west of Hasbayya deep in southeastern Lebanon, Washington Post correspondent David B. Ottaway reported.
The incident, bringing the death toll of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon since last Sept. 1 to 148, underscores the continuing danger facing the Israeli Army even if it does carry out a partial pullback from the Beirut area.
There were no details available regarding who was responsible for planting the charge, which reportedly contained more than 100 pounds of explosives set off by remote control.
Reuter added from Paris that Yasser Arafat, blaming Syrian interference for problems within his Palestine Liberation Organization, has said he will pull his troops out of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley if no accord with Damascus is reached.
In an interview taped in Tunis Monday and broadcast yesterday by the French television network TF1, Arafat said he would not allow the conflict within the PLO to lead to a new massacre of Palestinians.
"The current problem is not a disagreement within our organization; it is a conflict between us and Syria," the PLO chief said.