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Syria Increases Troop Movements; Israel Erects Security Fence

Syria has increased its troop movements along Israel’s northern border, and has stepped up its air activity along the frontier as well, Israeli sources reported today.

In a number of places, Syria started yesterday and last night to clear areas opposite its fortifications of trees and underbrush. Brush was being burned opposite the Israeli settlement of Dan, and trees were felled opposite Israel’s kibbutz at Almagor. Both of these Israeli sites have frequently been attacked by the Syrians. It was obvious that the Syrians were clearing border areas to give them a clear view of the Israeli side.

On Israel’s side, officials disclosed today that a two-mile long security fence has been erected on the Jordanian frontier in Jerusalem. The fence, which is equipped with powerful searchlights, has a special patrol track. It was built following the recent Arab guerrilla raid in which explosives were planted in the Romema section of Jerusalem, which severely damaged several buildings.

It was also disclosed that similar but much shorter fences were built several years ago at other Jerusalem sites, and that Israel security officials were planning extension of the new barrier.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Israeli army announced that Syrian gun posts in the hills overlooking the upper Galilee had opened fire Friday night on the Israeli settlement of Ashmura. Israeli troops returned the fire, and the exchange lasted about 70 minutes. No one was injured on the Israeli side. Israel filed a complaint against Syria with the Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission.

In another place in the Galilee, the spokesman said, an Israeli border patrol found an unexploded, buried land mine of the type used by the Syrian army. The mine was found opposite the Syrian gun position at Tel Aziziat, near which Israel has suffered a number of casualties recently due to land mine explosions.

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