AND SOME PEOPLE STILL WONDER...
Palestinian guerrillas left behind after Syria's military evacuation of Lebanon fired in the air Wednesday to prevent U.N. verifiers from inspecting a base of Ahmed Jibreel's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border.
No one was hurt in the encounter at the base of the PFLP-GC base at Qosaya. When U.N. inspectors accompanied by Lebanese officers tried to approach the base in clearly marked U.N. vehicles, Palestinian guards blocked the road, saying entry was forbidden. A security official said the verifiers turned back and as they were leaving gunmen fired automatic rifles in the air.
It was the first incident of violence since the international verifiers began their mission in the Bekaa on Tuesday. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said he was concerned about the continued presence of armed militiamen in some bases and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
The verifiers inspected three former Syrian bases and an intelligence center elsewhere in the Bekaa on Tuesday, accompanied by Lebanese military policemen. They were equipped with maps and video cameras when they made their first inspection in Baalbek.
The team, headed by Brig. Gen. Elhadji Mouhamadou Kandji of Senegal, then drove back to Zahleh, saying they would resume inspection Wednesday.
Kandji was quoted by the Agence France Presse as saying he was "satisfied" with the Baalbek inspection, adding his team has so far "encountered no Syrian soldier."(AP-Naharnet)