Beirut struck; Habib shuttling
Washington and Jerusalem — Israeli planes bombed Palestinian strongholds in Beirut July 22 and struck at Syrian and PLO guerrilla bases along the entire length of the front line in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, an Israeli Army spokesman said.
Meanwhile, President Reagan instructed US envoy Philip Habib to leave Beirut and visit Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in a renewed effort to end the crisis in Lebanon.
The new round of shuttle diplomacy was said to be a follow-up on the recent meeting between President Reagan and the Syrian and Saudi foreign ministers, and to Mr. Habib's own peace initiatives.
The raids on the Lebanese capital were directed at Palestine Liberation Organization artillery emplacements near the airport, a stadium, and the Sabra district.
The air raids in the Bekaa were backed up by a tank and artillery bombardment , the Israeli Army said. All Israeli planes were reported to have returned safely to base. The Israelis said the action in the eastern sector was in retaliation for numerous cease-fire violations by the Syrians and PLO which culminated Wednesday in the ambush deaths of five Israeli soldiers. Four PLO guerrillas also died in the fighting.
The air strikes on Beirut were the first since June 25 and followed a hurriedly called Israeli Cabinet meeting to discuss the Lebanon conflict.
A senior Foreign Ministry official said the July 22 military action was not the end of efforts to negotiate a peaceful PLO withdrawal from Beirut. He said it indicated the government's determination not to get bogged down in a war of attrition.
All fighting in Beirut was in the Muslim-controlled western sector, where an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 PLO guerrillas have been under Israeli siege for almost seven weeks.