Shiite Moslem kidnappers holding at least two American hostages threatened Friday to punish them in retaliation for Israel's air attacks on Palestinian and pro-Iranian guerrilla bases in Lebanon.
The threat came in typewritten statements in Arabic signed by the Islamic Jihad, the pro-Iranian faction holding American journalist Terry Anderson and educator Thomas Sutherland.Israeli warplanes and helicopters attacked guerrilla strongholds in Lebanon Friday in retaliation for a bombing that killed seven Israeli soldiers. Fifteen people were killed and 35 wounded in the air raids, police said.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said:
"We deplore the loss of life and the needless suffering of people on both sides, Lebanese and Israeli alike. We remain deeply concerned about the tragic pattern of action and reaction in Lebanon."
One of the two identical statements attributed to Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War, went to a Western news agency with a color photograph of Anderson.
The same statement without a photograph was delivered to Beirut's independent An-Nahar newspaper.
The statement paid tribute to the Shiite Moslem suicide bomber who killed seven Israeli soldiers in Israel's self-designated "security zone" in south Lebanon on Wednesday, and it denounced Israel's retaliatory air strikes.
"Committing this stupidity and this attack shall not pass without a punishment. The criminal America must realize it will not get away with what it has done, especially in connection with the hostages we hold, so that will be a lesson to whoever strikes at the dignity and glory of our people and mujahedeen (holy fighters)."
Anderson, 40, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was kidnapped March 16, 1985. Sutherland, 57, acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut, was abducted June 9, 1985.
In the photo, Anderson, with a bushy beard, was looking directly into the camera. He was wearing a Commodore Hotel T-shirt, as he wore when he was kidnapped.
The photograph was similar to one released April 10, when Islamic Jihad threatened to harm the hostages if a Kuwaiti jetliner hijacked to Cyprus was stormed to free the passengers.
The Israeli jets scored direct hits on ammunition dumps and training bases of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, or Party of God, and Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, said a police spokesman in Lebanon.
On Thursday, Israel's leaders vowed to retaliate against Hezbollah.