TEL AVIV (Apr. 16)
Official circles in Israel declined comment today on a complaint by the Jordanian Government that Israel was sending its own commando forces across the Jordan to attack Arab guerrillas on Jordanian soil. Reports from Amman claimed that Jordanian troops drove off a party of Israeli soldiers trying to cross into Jordan under cover of darkness Tuesday night. Observers here said that if such an action had taken place it would be in keeping with statements by the Chief of Staff that Israel would employ a wide range of tactics against terrorist incursions.
(The Times reported in London today that since the end of March, Jordan has been convinced that Israel would abandon partly its tactics of strong conventional strikes at terrorist bases and would attempt to infiltrate commandos of its own to hit the terrorists. Israel, the Times said, used the same tactic in the middle 1950s with its so-called 101st guerrilla battalion that raided Arab commando bases in the Gaza Strip.)
Raids against Israel from Jordanian bases continued unabated. An Israeli patrol killed three saboteurs and captured three others in a fierce gun battle yesterday afternoon near the Jordan River south of the Beisan region, a military spokesman reported today. Two of the captured saboteurs were wounded and the third surrendered. There were no Israeli casualties. Jordanian units opened fire on Israeli positions north of Jericho last night, precipitating an artillery duel that lasted for one hour. There were no casualties on the Israeli side, a spokesman said.
The battle with the saboteurs occurred when an Israeli patrol intercepted a heavily armed band of six men near the Jordan River in the vicinity of the Damiyah Bridge. The infiltrators climbed a hill and took refuge in a cave which was besieged by the Israelis. One of them soon came out with his hands up. A search of the cave yielded two dead and three wounded men, one of whom died shortly afterwards. The patrol found six Kalachnikuf assault rifles, bazookas, shells and explosives in food cans.