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All-day Artillery and Tank Duel Rages Along Jordan River Demarcation Line

Fighting raged through the day today along the Jordan River demarcation line from Gesher in northern Israel to the Dead Sea in the south with both Israel and Jordan using tanks and heavy artillery in a steadily escalating duel which continued at nightfall.

The new and widening clash, the second in three days, followed terrorist activity in the Beisan Valley supported by Jordanian covering fire from the east bank of the Jordan River. The Jordanians fired shells at Kibbutz Gesher in three volleys last night but all exploded harmlessly in open fields. The attack was renewed by Jordanian forces this morning with Israeli units returning the fire. During the afternoon the Jordanians shifted the fire to the central section near the Damiyah Bridge. After the fire was returned the Jordanians shifted fire to the Allenby and Abdallah Bridges near Jericho. Firing subsided late in the afternoon at Gesher but the shooting continued in the central and southern river sectors.

The Israeli strategy was to match weapon for weapon, using tanks and artillery when the Jordanians put such arms into action. One Jordanian tank was knocked off the Abdallah Bridge by Israeli gunners. Initial reports said that two Israeli soldiers had been slightly wounded. There were no later reports on casualties.

In earlier clashes with Arab terrorists, Israeli patrols killed eight of the intruders. One patrol killed three terrorists yesterday morning four hours after the guerrillas attacked Kibbutz Yad Hanna with mortar and bazooka shells. Two of the dead intruders were known to have taken part in previous El Fatah attacks. In a previous clash, an Israeli patrol fought with a group of seven terrorists north of Jericho, killing five. One Israeli soldier was killed and three wounded in the encounter.

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