URGENT Police Find Body of Missing Lebanese Jew
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Police said today that they found the body of a kidnapped Lebanese Jew hours after his abductors announced he was killed in retaliation for an Israeli raid against a Shiite Moslem village in southern Lebanon.
Police sources who spoke on condition of anonimity said Isaac Tarrab, who was kidnapped nine months ago, was killed with a single shot to the head.
Tarrab, 53, was the second Lebanese Jew killed in a week by kidnappers calling themselves the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, apparently a group of Shiite Moslems loyal to Iran’s revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Chaim Cohen Halala, 39, was found shot to death on Christmas Day near a Maronite Catholic church in Beirut’s old commercial district. The captors said he was killed in retaliation for Israeli shelling of two Shiite villages in southern Lebanon.
The group says it is holding two other Lebanese Jews: Isaac Sasson, 59, the head of Lebanon’s Jewish community, and Elie Srour, 68, an electrical engineer.
Police said residents of the Kaboushiyeh district found Tarrab’s body in the street. The neighborhood is near the Green Line that slices the capital into Christian and Moslem halves.
Police said his body was taken to the morgue of the American University Hospital in mostly Moslem west Beirut.
Tarrab was kidnapped by six gunmen from his home in Moslem west Beirut’s old Jewish quarter last March 29. Police had no information about his profession or marital status.
The Organization of the Oppressed on Earth said in a statement delivered late Tuesday to the independent newspaper An-Nahar that it had killed Tarrab.
The statement read, ″In retaliation for Israel’s excesses in terror, occupation, suppression, displacement and shelling ... and to answer the latest attacks Israeli forces staged against the struggling township of Kounin, we announce our execution of the second Israeli spy Isaac Tarrab.″
The statement said the organization would escalate such acts ″until Israel is uprooted″ from southern Lebanon.
Israel, which invaded Lebanon in June 1982, withdrew the bulk of its troops last June but continues patrols within a six-mile-deep ″security zone″ inside Lebanon’s border with Israel.
The statement, printed today in An-Nahar, referred to a joint raid Monday by the Israeli army and Israeli-armed South Lebanon Army, a mainly Christian militia, on the village of Kounin within the security zone.
Newspaper reports and witnesses said hundreds of Kounin villagers were forced to leave the village for nearby hamlets and the southern port city of Tyre following a house-to-house search by Israeli troops and SLA militiamen.
U.N. sources in southern Lebanon said two houses were blown up during the raid on Monday. Most of the residents were reported to have returned to the village.
Israeli military sources in Tel Aviv said the Beirut reports were grossly exaggerated. They said the SLA blew up one house in Kounin from which a guerrilla attack was launched.
The Israeli sources said five families from the village agreed to leave without pressure from the SLA.
The raid apparently was in retaliation for a Moslem guerrilla attack against a joint Israeli-SLA outpost in the village of Beit Jahoun, 5 miles north of the Israeli border.