JERUSALEM (Oct. 9)
The Cabinet held a lengthy session here today on the bombing and mining outrages perpetrated near Jordanian border areas in different parts of Israel over the weekend, causing four deaths and injuries to six other Israelis. Israeli officials have little doubt that the attacks were carried out by Syrian El Fatah terrorists.
Tensions mounted rapidly along the border late last night when four Israeli border policemen were killed and two others wounded as their jeep was destroyed by a mine in Israeli territory near Shaar Hagolan, south of Lake Tiberias, near the point where the Israeli, Syrian and Jordanian borders meet.
The deaths of the four Israeli border policemen followed another incident on Friday night in the Jerusalem suburb of Romema Elite, near the Jordanian border, where four persons were injured, none seriously, and two buildings extensively damaged by the explosion of three charges set by two infiltrators whose tracks were found leading from the site of the blasts to the Jordanian border.
The situation assumed grave proportions today when the Damascus Radio openly admitted that the Jerusalem incident was carried out by El Fatah infiltrators, and that the El Fatah terrorist organization was now a department of the Syrian Army.
CABINET REITERATES WARNING TO ANY COUNTRY WHENCE SABOTAGE EMANATES
The Cabinet today reiterated the position that any country whence saboteurs crossed into Israel — Jordan and Syria in the latest incidents — will be held responsible for their acts. In his report at today’s meeting, however, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol also stressed the overall responsibility of Syria for the raids. The situation was complicated in view of the assessment by Israeli officials that the purpose of the incidents was part of the inter-Arab rivalries, and aimed to involve Jordan in difficulties with Israel.
The gravity of the situation on Israel’s borders will be impressed on the foreign ambassadors here tomorrow by Premier Eshkol and on Foreign Ministers in the major capitals by Israel’s envoys abroad. Israel will explain that the Arab rulers are to blame for the deterioration of the situation and that the latest attacks are convincing proof that Soviet charges of Israel’s alleged “aggressive designs” are completely unfounded.
Israel’s Chief of Staff Gen. Yitzhak Rabin also reported to the Cabinet today on the weekend bombings by El Fatah terrorists. In the incident at Shaar Hagolan, he reported, the four border policemen were killed when their jeep hit a mine as they rushed to the scene of three earlier explosions followed by fires spotted in Israeli fields. Three of the policemen died instantly, and the fourth was fatally injured. The earlier explosions were found to have occurred in an agricultural tool shed.
Funeral services were held today for the four Israeli policemen. They were identified as Sgt. Joseph Amer and Constables Jacon Gigi, Avraham Levi and Nissim Cohen. Because of the death of the four policemen, a special Border Police Day program scheduled for later this week was canceled.
Israel complained today to the relevant United Nations Mixed Armistice Commission, and trackers later today found footprints leading from the scene of the mine explosion towards the border.
Israel also filed a strong complaint with the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission over the incident in Romema Elite where, in addition to the explosions which injured the four Israelis and damaged two buildings, an additional explosive which failed to go off had been found but was dismantled by Israeli ordnance experts.
The border in the Jerusalem area had been relatively quiet for months, and observers here indicated a belief that the incursion here was carried out by infiltrators coming from Syria who slipped by the Jordanian border guards.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials indicated today they planned to protest to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization over a resolution compelling Israel to evacuate a building partly in the No-Man’s Land in Jerusalem. The structure, known locally as Tannous building, stretches from Israel territory in new Jerusalem into No-Man’s Land. It has been inhabited for the last 17 years by some 40 Israeli families.