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Syria Opens Artillery Fire on Israel Settlements; One Israeli Killed

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An Israeli shepherd died today and a number of other civilians were wounded by the guns of Syrian troops entrenched in the heights dominating the Lake Huleh area. The incident, which opened with Syrians machine gunning Israeli shepherds peacefully grazing their flocks south of Kibbutz Gonen, developed in range and intensity until artillery on both sides of the border blasted opposing gun emplacements.

The attack was opened about mid-day by the Syrians. Israeli border police rushed to the area and opened a counter-fire designed to pin down the Syrians while the shepherds and their flocks were removed from the bullet swept meadows. The Syrians brought up heavier armament and the Israelis responded in kind. Before the shooting was halted at the request of United Nations observers, Kibbutz Gonen, north of Lake Huleh, was brought under Syrian artillery fire which then swept southward straddling several other Israeli villages along a ten mile front.

Damage was severe in several settlements and less so in others. A huge fire raged at Shamir and Hulatah was heavily hit. An undetermined number of civilians were wounded in the settlements. Women and children were pinned down by the intense fire, as well as their menfolk in defense positions. As in previous incidents, the Syrians, sitting in the hills, enjoyed a superiority in fire control which hampered evacuation and rescue operations

This was the second clash along the Israel-Syrian border in four weeks. In addition, three men from Syrian territory ambushed and killed the wife of a British attache in Israel three weeks ago.

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