Israeli jets blast Hizbollah in Lebanon

RJAYOUN (Reuter) - Israeli warplanes launched three raids on positions held by the pro-Iranian Hizbollah in south Lebanon yesterday, killing at least two guerrillas, security sources said.

Hizbollah guerrillas hit back, raining dozens of Katyusha rockets deep into Israel's self-styled security zone in the south. The sources said the planes fired several rockets at Hizbollah positions in the Iqlim al-Toufah region, a mountain ridge 40km (25 miles) south of Beirut.

Swooping low under the cover of darkness for their third strike of the day, the planes targeted guerrilla posts in Louwaizeh. Two guerrillas were killed and three wounded in two earlier raids on fortified Hizbollah posts in the area, the Lebanese sources said.

The Israeli army confirmed there were repeated raids. 'Israeli Air Force warplanes attacked again this evening a terrorist target of the Hizbollah in Jabel Safi,' an army statement said. 'The pilots reported precise hits on the targets and all planes returned safely to base. The targets hit served as a training base and launching pad for attacks by the organisation.'

The rebels fired more than 30 Katyushas into the town of Marjayoun, where Israeli forces and their surrogate militia, the South Lebanon Army (SLA), have headquarters.

Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister, during a tour of the buffer zone after the first two raids, said Syria was not doing enough to stop guerrillas attacking Israeli targets in Lebanon. 'The Syrians can reduce (guerrilla) activity in the security zone. But I am convinced they are not doing this,' he said.