JERUSALEM (Mar. 20)
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who is also Israel’s Defense Minister, today interrupted his vacation and returned to Jerusalem to preside over an urgent Cabinet meeting called to consider the situation on the Israel-Syrian border.
The urgent meeting was called after Syrian and Israeli troops exchanged gunfire again today in the Lake Tiberias area. The new clash was precipitated by Syrian gunners who opened fire this morning on an Israeli police patrol launch on Lake Tiberias, wounding two members of its crew, one seriously.
The launch was making a routine patrol along the eastern shore of the lake when fire from positions north of Nuqueib, the position demolished in the early Saturday Israeli raid, was directed at the boat. The Syrians used mortars, recoilless guns and machine-guns in the latest attack.
The police boat began shooting back but when the boat was hit by a Syrian shell and the two police were wounded, it made for the western shore where the two police were taken to a hospital. The Syrian shooting subsided soon afterwards.
Israeli sources indicated they felt the newest shooting was a local command action rather than a new Syrian assault. It was noted that for the first time in months, Syrian fishermen were out in the northern section of the lake. It was also reported that Syrian MIGs were seen over Israeli territory west of the lake and the River Jordan.