Lebanon: Playing with Fire

Israeli jets and Syrian missiles score a high-risk conflict

The message that crackled across the air waves, and clattered over chancellery teletypes in a score of capitals, was charged with menace. Israeli Phantom fighter-bombers, firing air-to-air missiles, had just brought down a Syrian helicopter as it took off from an airbase near Riyaq in east central Lebanon. Later in the day, a second Israeli air attack downed another Syrian helicopter, killing all four crewmen aboard. Before wheeling back to Israel, according to Lebanese claims that were strongly denied by Jerusalem, the Israeli jets...

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