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24 March 1988
Item 40 of the preliminary list*
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Letter dated 24 March 1988 from the Permanent Representative of
Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
On instructions from my Government and further to my previous letters, I have the honour to I have the honour to draw your attention, and the attention of the international community as represented by the United Nations and the Security Council, to the fact that in less than 24 hours Israel launched two vicious aerial attacks on the eastern suburbs of Sidon and the villages of Majdalyoun, Bcosta and Salhie. According to preliminary reports, more than 10 people were killed and 20 wounded, including two young children, in the first attack. It is not yet known how many people were killed and wounded in the second attack.
The first attack, which lasted half an hour and took place in three successive waves, was launched at 1800 hours (local time) on Wednesday, 23 March, by three Israeli fighter planes. Its target was the outskirts of the city of Sidon and the three villages mentioned. The planes dropped more than 25 bombs and rockets on buildings in these areas, causing them to collapse with their occupants inside. After this first assault, the planes returned to the attack twice more while relief workers tried to help the victims and evacuate the dead and wounded.
At 1300 hours (local time) on 24 March, Israeli planes returned to bomb the same area and so far it has been impossible to determine the number of casualties because of the violence of the rocket bombardment, which took place in six successive waves and lasted a whole hour.
These two attacks are the second and third in one week, the fourth and fifth in less than two weeks and the sixth and seventh since the beginning of 1988.
The Lebanese Government vigorously condemns these criminal, vicious attacks and reminds the United Nations and the Security Council of their responsibilities. Whatever pretext Israel may have given for these attacks, they are inadmissible and no rational person can tolerate them.
Israel's contempt for international custom and law and for the United Nations Charter is already well known to everyone. The international community must therefore react swiftly and vigorously to the aggression by Israel, which is rebelling against the international will and repeatedly violating the sovereignty of a country member of the United Nations, killing women, old people and children who are Lebanese citizens or residents, destroying their property, burning their farms and fields and destroying their crops.
I should be grateful if you would have this letter circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under item 40 of the preliminary list, and of the Security Council.
) Rachid FAKHOURY