Israeli gunners shelled Shiite Moslem villages in the Syrian-policed Bekaa Valley on Saturday, killing eight civilians, including four small children, police said. Nine people were wounded.

In Jerusalem, military officials confirmed the raid and said it came after several Katyusha rockets were fired into northern Israel and the occupied zone from the area around the villages.Israeli officials reported no casualties or damage from the rockets.

The Lebanese police said the villages of Mashgara, Sohmor, Maydoun and Ein el-Tineh, two miles north of Israel's self-designated "security zone," were hit by 50 shells in the midday barrage.

"It was like hell. The attacks and counterattacks raged fiercely throughout the afternoon. The violence subsided at dusk," said a reporter based in the town of Rashaya, 33 miles southeast of Beirut.

A police spokesman said four small children were among those killed and three wounded civilians were in critical condition.