JERUSALEM (Dec. 3)
Three waves of Israeli Jets bombed the town of Kfar Assad in northern Jordan today and knocked out Russian-made 122-millimeter artillery pieces used in an artillery duel that raged along a 20-mile front between Jordan and Israel earlier in the day. The weapons were fired from areas occupied by Iraqi troops based in Jordan since the Six-Day War and it is believed artillery emplacements manned by Iraqis were knocked out. The artillery duel, second since Sunday, ranged from the Jordan to the Beisan Valleys and was one of the heaviest since the war.
An Israeli military spokesman said the duel today lasted three hours, ending before dawn. No casualties were reported although shells from Jordan landed in the settlements of Kfar Ruppin. Maoz Haiyim, Neve Eitan, Hamadiya, Beit Yosef, Yardena. Ashdot Yaakov. Tel Katzir and Kinneret. (The 122-millimeter guns have been supplied by Russia to North Vietnam and have been effectively used against United States Marine positions near the demilitarized zone.) The Israeli spokesman said they had been fired from positions stretching 20 miles inside Jordan. Both sides accused the other of starting the exchange.
Another heavy artillery duel ended Monday morning after Israeli jets hit the town of Irbid, about 40 miles north of Amman, the capital. During the exchange Israeli tanks were firing at Iraqi units. Jordanians and Palestinian guerrillas. Israeli sources said. The Palestinians used Russian-made Katyusha rockets against Israeli settlements. The powerful weapons fire up to 32 rockets simultaneously from mobile launchers. The exchange occurred as Israeli commandos struck Sunday inside Jordan, knocking out two bridges carrying road and rail links from Amman to Maan and the Red Sea port of Aqaba.
Israel says Katyusha rockets have been fired into its own and occupied territory since Sept. 16. It claims three such attacks on Beisan, two on the Dead Sea Works at Sodom. and on Shaar Hagolan, Masada, Kinneret, the Kallya area, Eilat. Jiftlik, Musa Alami farm near Jericho, and the Allenby Bridge area.
In Moscow, the Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda warned in a front page editorial that the Israeli raid into Jordan and a November one 140 miles inside Egypt were “recklessly adventuristic” and “fraught with grave consequences.” It said that “dangerous complications may develop in the Middle East” as a result of them, adding that “the Soviet Union will administer a resolute rebuff to the intrigues of the aggressors and will uphold the interest of our security and the security of our friends.”