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SHIITE GUERRILLAS CLASH WITH ISRAELI TROOPS IN S. LEBANON

SHARE SHIITE GUERRILLAS CLASH WITH ISRAELI TROOPS IN S. LEBANON

Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim guerrillas clashed in artillery battles with Israeli troops and allied militiamen in south Lebanon on Tuesday.

Security sources said the clashes erupted this morning when fundamentalist Hezbollah guerrillas fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells on Israel's surrogate South Lebanon Army militia in southeast Lebanon.The sources, who requested anonymity, reported no casualties from the stricken SLA position in the eastern sector of a border enclave Israel occupies in south Lebanon.

Israeli troops and SLA militiamen struck back with 155mm howitzers on guerrilla hideouts in olive groves.

The hostilities remained within the normal exchanges understood as within the boundaries of such skirmishes, marking a sharp de-escalation from last week's air assaults and cross-border missile strikes that threatened Middle East peace.

That spasm of violence was touched off by Israel's deadliest air raid in 10 months, in which up to 50 guerrilla recruits were killed.