Three Israeli Soldiers Killed by Landmines As Jordanians Step Up Attacks

Three Israeli soldiers were killed and seven were injured when two command cars struck road mines in rapid succession in the Romani area of northern Sinai last night, a military spokesman announced today. The second command car was speeding to the aid of the first mined vehicle when it too detonated a mine. A widespread series of terrorist attacks, mainly with mortars, was launched by El Fatah units early this morning in the Beisan, Jerusalem and Manera regions. There were no casualties and virtually no damage, a military spokesman reported. But the attack on Kibbutz Manera, in northwest Galilee, marked the first terrorist activity from Lebanese soil in almost a year.

Kfar Ruppin and Ashdod Yacov, in the Beisan Valley, frequent targets of Jordanian artillery, were hit by mortars at about 2:30 a.m. local time, sending children into bomb shelters for about an hour. The shells exploded harmlessly in fields but Israeli units returned the fire that came from the east bank of the Jordan. Six light mortar shells were fired at the Mattarsdorf religious quarter northwest of Jerusalem. Attempts were made to sabotage a water pumping station at Hamadiyah. At Kibbutz Manera, six shells were fired, all exploding harmlessly in the apple orchard. No traces were found of infiltrators indicating that the attack originated behind the Lebanese border which had been the most quiet of all of Israel’s frontiers.

Security sources reported today that 43 El Fatah members have been killed, 11 wounded and 96 captured in various actions since April 1 when the terrorists began their so-called “spring offensive.” The sources noted that neither El Fatah or any other Arab commando groups have been able to take root among the more than one million Arab residents of Israel and Israel-held territories. This forced them to rely on bases on the East Bank of the Jordan which are vulnerable to Israel’s new policy of “hot pursuit.” In general, according to security sources, Israel is militarily stronger on land, sea and air than it was before last June’s war, despite additional forces required along the demarcation line to deal with marauders.

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