TEL AVIV (Feb. 12)
Artillery and mortar duels erupted today for the third successive day along the Israel-Jordan cease-fire line. The latest action was concentrated around the Beisan Valley settlements of Maoz Chaim and Kfar Ruppin where pre-dawn shelling from the east bank of the Jordan forced settlers into shelters. No damage was reported and Israeli guns quickly silenced the attackers at both settlements.
The latest outbreak of fighting began Saturday night when Jordanian artillery provided covering fire for terrorists active in the Beisan Valley. Israeli units returned the fire as usual. But the Jordanians, apparently following a pre-arranged pattern, shifted their attacks to other sectors along the cease-fire line. By nightfall Sunday, artillery, mortar and tank duels were reported all along the Jordan River, from Kibbutz Gesher in the north to the Dead Sea in the south.
The Jordanians continued the same pattern this morning. They hit Maoz Chaim with mortars at 4:00 a.m. local time. Israel return-fire was prompt and effective. But an hour later, the attack was renewed, this time against Kfar Ruppin, a short distance to the south. Again the Jordanian fire was quickly silenced by Israeli guns. In both attacks, Israeli units returned the fire too swiftly for the Jordanians to zero in on settlement buildings. Their shells landed harmlessly outside the settlement perimeters.