TEL AVIV (Jun. 18)
An Israeli soldier was killed last night in a shooting fray with a gang of El Fatah saboteurs that was intercepted by an Israeli patrol in the Golan Heights near the village of Kispin, a military spokesman announced today. Another Israeli soldier was injured slightly earlier when a halftrack he was riding in struck a mine in the southern section of the Golan Heights near the Jordanian border.
Israeli forces today wiped out a five-man Egyptian patrol that crossed the Suez Canal and infiltrated the Sinai Desert. The infiltration was the first of its kind since last June’s Six-Day War, The action took place northwest of Romani in an area where three Israelis were killed recently by Arab mines. The incident was reported by Israel to United Nations cease-fire observers in the canal zone, the spokesman said.
The encounter with the El Fatah band was one of several clashes along the Jordanian border last night that included extended artillery, mortar and small arms duels. The saboteurs escaped but left behind two mines and a Russian-made assault rifle. Three other attempts at sabotage, in Jerusalem, Nablus and near the upper Galilee settlement of Kfar Yuval, were foiled when the explosives were discovered and dismantled.
A military spokesman reported that an intensive artillery duel took place between Jordanian and Israeli units north of the Damiya Bridge last night. The Jordanians opened fire first with small arms and later brought mortars into action, he said. Israelis returned the fire and silenced the Jordanian guns with direct hits after an exchange that lasted an hour and a half. No casualties were reported. Shortly before midnight a bazooka shell was fired at the water pumping station at Kibbutz Hamadieyh in the Beisan Valley but there was no damage or casualties.
A South African volunteer, Ivor Shor, was the hero of Kfar Yuval in upper Galilee today. He discovered six bazooka shells with a timing device aimed at the settlement, Security forces were called in and dismantled the explosive device. A home-made incendiary bomb was discovered by a gardener near the military governor’s house in Nablus last night and was dismantled by border police. The bomb was believed to have been planted by local high school pupils who have participated in anti-Israel activities recently. The students are known to have been organized into an underground group by older students at the local teachers’ seminary. Police sappers in Jerusalem dismantled two “button” mines which were found by a schoolboy near a local elementary school. The devices, which were made in China, according to authorities, resemble ordinary buttons but can cause serious injury if stepped on or picked up. Large quantities of “button” mines were found by Israeli forces when they captured Syrian positions on the Golan Heights last June.
(It was reported in London that newspapers in Cairo and Beirut continued to warn of an alleged Israeli military build-up in preparation for a new assault on Jordan with the objective of seizing the East Bank. Cairo’s semi-official daily, Al Gumhouriya claimed that Israel was now in possession of American supersonic Phantom jet fighters. An Amman dispatch to the paper said that Jordanian radar had detected the Phantoms in action.)