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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       April 16, 1996 V4, #68
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Hizbullah Warns Israelis Worldwide

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

The Hizbullah movement says it is ready to launch a corps of suicide bombers inside Israel and against Israeli interests around the world. TV photos have shown devoted Hizbullah fighters with dynamite strapped around their waists, chanting slogans and apparently preparing to die for their cause.

What is their cause? Analysts say it is two-pronged -- to oust Israelis from their homeland and to undermine any Arab peace deals with the Jewish state. In 1993, an influential Shi'ite cleric in Beirut even issued a religious ruling that attacking Israeli forces in southern Lebanon was a religious duty.

Hizbullah -- or "Party of God" in English -- sprang onto the world stage in the mid-1980s with a series of bloody terrorist attacks, and kidnappings of westerners. There were suicide bombings against US and French military positions in Beirut, hijackings of international airliners, political murders, and more recently, assaults on Israeli troops in southern Lebanon and rocket attacks across the border into northern Israel.

Hizbullah followers are mostly Shi'ite Muslim militants from Lebanon's poor villages and Beirut neighborhoods. They took their inspiration from Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Larger-than-life photos of the late Ayatollah Khomeini decorate Hizbullah strongholds.

As Hizbullah grew, so did Iranian assistance. Early on, one influential cleric in Beirut described Iran as the mother of Hizbullah and the model for a new Islamic Lebanon.

The United States and Israel criticize Syria for allowing Iranian supplies to pass through its territory to Hizbullah forces inside Lebanon. Syria is considered the key power broker in Lebanon and capable of calming Hizbullah or at least cutting its supply routes.

Both Syria and Lebanon have rejected calls to rein in Hizbullah on the grounds the militants are legitimately resisting the occupation of their country.

Israel Launches Artillery Strikes

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli forces and Lebanese Hizbullah terrorists continued their fighting Monday with Israeli artillery and air strikes hitting southern Lebanon and Hizbullah rockets landing in northern Israel.

Israel launched artillery strikes Monday in new areas of southern Lebanon, after warning people in more villages to evacuate their homes overnight.

Long-range artillery shells landed around the cities of Tyre and Nabatiyeh, and in other areas. Lebanese sources reported an Israeli air strike on suspected Hizbullah installations northeast of Beirut, and elsewhere. Israel said it launched more than 250 air sorties into Lebanon Sunday.

Meanwhile, Hizbullah's Katyusha rockets continued to rain on northern Israel, most of them hitting open areas, but some landing in or near population centers. The Israeli army reported three people were injured and five others were treated for shock. A synagogue was reported damaged by one rocket which fell nearby. Many local residents have fled to the south and those remaining are spending most of their time in bomb shelters.

Israel occupies an approximately nine mile-wide zone in southern Lebanon, designed to prevent attacks on northern Israel. Peres said Monday Israel is sensitive to the human cost of its operation, but he said it has been forced into conducting it by repeated rocket attacks by Hizbullah on northern Israeli towns.

"Surely we would like to bring an end to the fire. It does not bring us any pleasure to see people suffering. It does not bring us any satisfaction to see people in danger. We regret about every life, whether on our side of the border on the other side of the border. But we want to make sure that security will replace assassination and violence."

German Courts Turn Down Munich Victims' Relatives

By Kyle King (VOA-Bonn)

Relatives of Israeli athletes killed during a terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich have lost their bid to sue the German government for bungling the rescue operation. The Munich court declared the lawsuit by the five relatives to have been technically withdrawn because they failed to post bond required to ensure legal costs of the case would be paid.

The lawsuits by the five relatives had sought millions of dollars in damages from the German federal, state and local governments for their role in the failed rescue operation at the 1972 Olympics.

Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli athletes and took nine others captive at the Munich games.

Police later tried to rescue the hostages at an airport outside the city, but the operation failed and all nine athletes were killed along with five Palestinians and a policeman. Two additional lawsuits are expected to go to trial in early May. Twenty-two other relatives of the athletes tried to sue officials for damages last October. Those cases were rejected by the court, which said the statute of limitations had run out years ago and the cases had already been addressed by a 1973 compensation agreement. The relatives are appealing the decisions.

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