TEL AVIV (May. 16)
Two young Israelis were killed early this morning on the Syrian frontier, near the Nahal village of Almagor, when a jeep in which they were riding passed over a mine. The site of the incident is about 325 yards from the Syrian border, at a spot inside Israel north of Lake Tiberias.
The men formed the advance party for a convoy of three tractors manned by other Israelis engaged in clearing the fields of rocks on behalf of a Jewish National Fund afforestation project. They left Almagor at 4:30 a.m. and proceeded to a spot in the field where work on the project had been started safely last week. Suddenly, their jeep blew up. The occupants of the jeep, Amikam Shamai, 27, and Peter Fabian, 25, were still alive when reached by the men on the tractors, but died within a few minutes while being taken to a nearby hospital.
The explosive is believed to have contained 20 pounds of TNT. The terrorists are believed to have forded the Jordan River, which forms the Syrian-Israeli border in the area. Tracks leading back to the river shore were traced by Israeli army investigators in the presence of military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. The U.N. men and Israeli army officers, accompanied by bloodhounds, lost the tracks of the saboteurs along the shores of the river.
While the area was being investigated, three other mines were found not far away, about a half mile from the Lebanese border. These mines were dismantled safely by Israeli army personnel
INCIDENT PROVOKES TENSION IN ISRAEL; GRAVE IMPLICATIONS FEARED
As Israel filed a complaint on the Almagor incident with the Syrian-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission, the Foreign Ministry announced at Jerusalem that it has instructed Ambassador Michael S. Comay, Israel’s permanent representative at the United Nations, to file a protest with the Security Council. Mr. Comay was requested to point out in the grievances the recent spate of raids by El Fatah saboteurs, many of them operating from Jordanian territory but supported and equipped by the Syrian Government.
The incident, it was said here, could have the gravest implications for Israel. It was pointed out that, three weeks ago, when a series of El Fatah sabotage raids had been carried through from Jordan, Israel staged a reprisal raid into two Jordanian villages, blowing up a number of houses that had been used as bases by E1 Fatah. It was noted that the latest outrage showed that this retaliatory raid had, so far, proved insufficient to warn the El Fatah terrorists against repeating their attacks.
The entire northern border was tense today, although in Almagor itself work was proceeding as usual. Almagor was the home of two Israeli farmers who were murdered in August of 1963 by a band of about 10 Syrians who had crossed over the Jordan River into Israel. At that time, the U.N, Security Council debated Israel’s complaint against Syria at great length, and nine of the Council’s 11 members voted for a resolution condemning Syria. However, the Soviet Union had exercised its veto power, keeping the resolution from formal adoption.
Reports in the Lebanese press, received here today, stated that the Syrian Government has ordered evacuation of villages close to the Israeli border on the grounds that Israel was “massing” troops along the frontier. Syrian sources were quoted as saying that the Damascus Government has notified all Arab governments and the Unified Arab Command, which has its headquarters in Cairo, of the charges that Israel was preparing to attack Syria. Syria’s Maj. Gen. Hafez Assad, who is Minister of Defense, was quoted as threatening Israel with a “war of liberation” if Israel “dared to wage aggressive war against Syria.”
Other Arab newspapers from nearby countries announced that “Palestine Day” was observed throughout “the Arab nation” yesterday, marking the anniversary of the date when the Arabs living in Israel fled from that country and became refugees as Israel declared its independence, 18 years ago.