TEL AVIV (Sep. 17)
Eight Israeli civilians, including two schoolgirls, were injured last night in a brief but damaging bombardment of Beisan Township by terrorists using for the first time the Czech-made 130mm rocket-launcher, commonly known as “Katyusha.” Firing of the rockets was from the Jordanian side of the border. This morning Israeli gunners fired four shells into the Jordanian village of Irbid”to remind the terrorists there they are still vulnerable,” a military spokesman said.
The terrorists sent eight rockets into Beisan while people were still on the streets. Two sisters, Rachel and Lea Abou, aged 10 and 12, were slightly injured as were six other civilians. Five were treated in the hospital and sent home. Two girls and a man remained in the hospital today but were not on the danger list.
A tractor driver was injured yesterday when his vehicle hit a mine near the newly established Negev settlement of Tzofar in the Araba district. An Army command car going to the scene also struck a mine but without casualties, a military spokesman said. An Army spokesman today denied an Egyptian claim that they had shot down an Israeli plane.
The bombardment of Beisan ended what appears to have been a tacit understanding between Jordanian authorities and El Fatah that the terrorists were not to attack Israeli settlements. The understanding was reached after Israeli artillery blasted Irbid last June 4 in retaliation for the sustained shelling of Israeli border settlements by terrorists. Thereafter, terrorist gunfire was directed against Israeli Army units and border patrols, the military spokesman said. He added that this morning’s shelling of Irbid was a “reminder.” Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan visited Beisan Township this morning where he was cheered by the residents. He paid a call on the two injured girls. Army sources said that four shells were fired into Irbid from the Golan Heights. Jordanian authorities claimed that five shells struck and said that four civilians were injured and two houses damaged.
Israeli military sources disclosed meanwhile that there were 100 incidents along the Israel-Jordan cease-fire line during the month ending today. They said that 92 of the incidents were perpetrated from the Jordanian side of the line with the consent of Jordanian authorities. The sources said this was due to measures taken by Israel which make it difficult, if not impossible, for marauders to cross the Jordan River. According to a military spokesman, the terrorists obtained their “Katushya” rocket launcher from Syria. The weapons are used by the Syrian and Egyptian armies.