Israeli troops sealed off Ain el-Helwe, a Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon, Thursday and detained some 70 men after an informer working for the Israelis was ambushed, residents and Israeli sources said.
The Israeli sources said that shots had been fired at the informer's car as he was driving near the camp outside Sidon but that he escaped unhurt. Residents said Israeli troops imposed a curfew after the attack and rounded up many boys and men between the ages of 12 and 60, parading them in front of masked informers. Some 70 were then taken to the Israeli headquarters in Sidon, the residents added. Ain el-Helwe, previously a guerrilla stronghold, is still home to thousands of Palestinians and poor Lebanese.
In the latest reports on the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacre, the New York Times, quoting Phalangist and Western diplomatic sources in Beirut, said the operation leading to the massacre was directed by the top right-wing Phalangist military commanders and involved the elite corps of the Phalangist militia.
The Times quoted other Beirut sources saying the original purpose of the operation in the camps had been not only to fight, disarm, and arrest or execute any remaining Palestinian guerrillas, but to frighten Lebanon's Palestinians into leaving all their camps and then Lebanon as a whole.
The Washington Post, after a separate investigation, said that the late Lebanese President-elect, Bashir Gemayel, approved the entry of Christian militiamen into the camps, but that his design did not call for a massacre of unarmed civilians.