TEL AVIV (Oct. 23)
An aerial encounter between Israeli and Egyptian jets over the Suez Canal and new Jordanian attacks along the cease-fire line in which an Israeli border policeman was wounded were reported here today. An Army communique said that two Egyptian MIGs violating Israel-held air space were chased off by Israeli jets in the area of Ismailiya, the Sinai town located at the mid-point of the Suez Canal. The communique did not specify whether an air battle had taken place but said that all of the Israeli planes had returned safely to their bases. Earlier, Israel denied a Cairo report that two Israeli planes had been shot down and a third hit in a jet dogfight over the Suez Canal today.
The latest Jordanian attack occurred this evening near Maoz Chaim in the Beisan Valley. The Israeli patrol returned the fire in an exchange that lasted 10 minutes. A half hour exchange developed earlier in the day south of the Allenby Bridge, a military spokesman said. Last night and this morning Israeli units exchanged fire with forces on the Jordanian side of the river. Artillery and mortars were brought into action on both sides as well as machine guns and bazookas. No casualties were reported. The main targets of Jordanian gunners were Israeli positions and patrols in the Beisan and northern Jordan valleys. Mortar shells burst near the settlements of Hamadiya, Tirat Zvi and Kfar Ruppin and blasted river crossing points at Umm Tutz and Umm Sidra. A two hour artillery duel took place last night near the Allenby Bridge, chief thoroughfare for traffic between Jordan and the West Bank. During the night saboteurs damaged an unused railway line near Kalkilya. Police are investigating. An eyewitness to the clash at the bridge remarked on the incongruity of the situation. During the day the span resembles any heavily trafficked international crossing with a steady stream of private cars, trucks and buses and customs officials doing their normal routine duties. But at sundown the movement of vehicles ceases and the bridge and its environs becomes a battlefield lit up by shell bursts and tracer bullets.