JERUSALEM (Oct. 15)
Israeli soldiers, deep in prayer at a defense post in the Beisan Valley, rushed to their guns yesterday when their Yom Kippur services were interrupted by tank and artillery fire from across the Jordan River. One soldier was injured in the heavy exchange of fire that followed. According to an Army spokesman, Israeli tanks scored direct hits on the Jordanian police station at Sheikh Hossein, where the attack originated. A later attack from Sheikh Mouhamed village was also silenced by Israeli tanks.
The spokesman said that the incident was one of several that shattered the High Holy Day calm in the west bank region, and caused damage to buildings and vehicles. Kibbutz Maoz Chaim, in the Beisan Valley, was the target of an El Fatah terrorist attack last night which damaged the dining half and a transformer building, and set fire to a half-track. On Friday, two Israeli border policemen were injured when their jeep struck a mine on a dirt track leading to the fish ponds south of Kfar Ruppin. Another mine found in the area was dismantled.
The Army spokesman said that the Yom Kippur attack occurred near the Sheikh Hossein bridge, 15 miles south of Lake Tiberias, shortly after 8 a.m. yesterday. While some Israeli soldiers were at their posts, others were conducting services in a makeshift synagogue when the Jordanians opened fire. The worshipers dropped their prayer shawls and prayer books, and immediately joined the other soldiers at the gun positions.
These men were fasting, but they fed ammunition to machine guns and fuel and shells to the tanks, the Army spokesman said. When the action ended, the men returned to their prayers and finished the Yom Kippur service with the traditional shofar blast.
An investigation of the El Fatah attack on Maoz Chaim revealed that four marauders had crossed the Sheikh Hossein bridge into Israel and back. Four explosive charges went off in the kibbutz area near midnight. Two more were found and dismantled. No casualties were reported.
Incidents have been increasing in this area where the Jordan is very shallow. Two weeks ago the village of Hamadieyeh was attacked by terrorists.