Soviet missiles in Lebanon?
The State Department, describing the situation in Lebanon as "tense, dangerous, and volatile," said US intelligence has detected the presence of Soviet-made SAM-6 missiles in the country. Spokesman Dean Fischer said he could not discuss the number or location of the surface-to-air missiles, but he said Thursday that Syrian forces had moved in a number of the weapons in the "last couple of days."
Meanwhile, diplomatic sources in New York said that Saudi Arabia claims Soviet officers are working alongside Syrian officers inside Lebanon and has urged Gulf rulers to consider withdrawing their multimillion-dollar support for the Syrian peacekeeping troops, diplomatic sources said. Saudi Crown Prince Fahd has sent an urgent appeal to the leaders of Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates suggesting that they reevaluate their political and financial commitments to the 30,000-man Syrian force. The peacekeeping contingent involved in fighting against Christian Falangist militiamen in Zahle and Beirut has been in Lebanon since the 1975-76 civil war, and its mandate expires in June.
Meanwhile in Tel Aviv, Palestinian rockets fired from inside Lebanon crashed down on homes in northern Israel Thursday, sending border residents fleeing for cover amid heightening tensions created by the Lebanese conflict. A military spokesman said the rockets were fired from Palestinian guerrilla positions near Beaufort Castle, in south Lebanon.
In addition, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, in Yugoslavia on a visit, put Libya's armed forces at Syria's disposal for use against Israel, official Syrian sources in Damascus said. Colonel Qaddafi ordered the offer to be made after Israel shot down two Syrian helicopters April 29, they said.