The South Lebanese Army while investigating the report of an arms cache in one of the neighboring villages came under fire prior to withdrawing, Associated Press has reported today from Beirut.
While it has not been confirmed, unidentified members on staff say it was a poor showing for the SLA. No additional comments have been received from official sources.
Now for the PLO view…
It was a great day for the PLO. Two columns of the SLA attempted to enter the village looking for arms and supplies. One column was to approach the village, clear a roadblock and support the second column approaching the village’s stores and warehouses.
Trouble started early as the right column moved faster than expected and their M-113 was quickly engaged in a firefight from one of the warehouse buildings. After taking three hits by RPGs the M113 retired to check on the damage to the APC.
This left the four squads to secure the warehouse complex. One squad unfortunately had trouble crossing the road and was brought under fire by a PLO LMG team firing from the roof. A squad was able to take one building but was forced to pull back after the M113 and a third squad pulled back. A fourth squad did reach their objective, but was unable to contact the left column. They also pulled back with the other three squads.
The left column was unable to remove the roadblock as they were under fire. Once they secured the PLO position they received orders to pull back to the start line.
(The PLO leader at this position has a different stand on this as he was holding off a superior force and he only left once his position was untenable. He escaped with his own life and his RPG team and the truck. It was our only truck.)
While causalities were similar, 7 PLO for 8 SLA, the fact that the PLO held the field allowed them to recover arms from the causalities and check on their wounded.