Israeli troops killed at least four guerrillas they said were preparing to launch attacks Saturday in Israel’s enclave in south Lebanon.
Security sources said the Israelis spotted two groups of guerrillas in the villages of Arab Salim and Kfar Rumman in the center of the Israeli-occupied sector.
They fired from their tanks on the first group, killing all four of its members, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A second, three-man guerrilla group came under fire from a 155-mm howitzer, they said. There was no word on casualties in that group.
Israeli troops later shelled suspected guerrilla strongholds in villages facing the enclave.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah, or Party of God, is leading a guerrilla war to evict 1,200 Israeli soldiers and 2,500 allied South Lebanon Army militiamen from the border enclave, set up by Israel in 1985 to protect its northern towns from cross-border attacks.
A series of suicide bombings in Israel, and Israel’s threats of retaliation, have increased tensions in south Lebanon.
In the past three weeks, Hezbollah guerrillas have killed six Israeli soldiers and wounded more than 20 in the enclave.