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ISRAEL SENDS MORE TROOPS TO LEBANON ZONE

Israel has dispatched troop and equipment reinforcements to the frontier "security zone" in southern Lebanon, the official Lebanese National News Agency reported Saturday.

"The Israeli extraordinary measures appear as a prelude to a planned military incursion," the agency quoted an unnamed security official as saying.The Israelis have recently re-strengthened their military presence in the border zone, which runs up to 12 miles along the Lebanese borders, stationing a big force equipped with heavy arms, the agency said.

Israel established the enclave, originally patrolled by 1,000 Israeli military personnel and the 2,500-strong South Lebanon Army militia, in 1985 after it pulled the bulk of its forces in 1985.

"The special movements strengthen fears that Israel would launch a wide-scale military operation in order to try to upset the increasing rapprochement between Beirut and Damascus," the government-run agency said.

Israel has started a rhetorical campaign against a recent accord between the pro-Syrian Beirut government and the Damascus regime that required the two leaderships to coordinate policies in all sensitive fields, notably defense and foreign affairs.

Israeli officials said Lebanon had become a Syrian protectorate as a result of the agreement.

French and Lebanese officials have been engaged in a war of words over the increasing cooperation between Damascus and Beirut.