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Battered Valley Settlers Want Boundary Pushed Eastward from River to Gilead Mountains

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Settlers of the Beisan and Jordan Valleys which are the prime target of artillery and rocket attacks from Jordanian soil, have petitioned the Knesset (Parliament) to authorize Israeli occupation of a zone east of the Jordan River demarcation line in order to put them out of range of enemy fire.

Representatives of the settlers appeared before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee today to argue for the creation of a demilitarized “buffer zone” reaching into the Gilead Mountains which lie within Jordanian territory. They said such a move would relive the Beisan and Jordan Valley settlements from constant harassment by long-range artillery employed by Jordanian and Iraqi forces and by the Czech-made 130mm. Katyusha rocket launchers, a favorite weapon of the El Fatah terrorists. They were heard by the full committee under the chairmanship of David Hacohen. The committee hearing was attended by Gen. David Elazar, commander of the northern front.

Ten shells were fired from Jordanian soil last night at Neot Hakikar, a settlement at the southern end of the Dead Sea, a military spokesman reported. He said the fire was returned and that an investigation was under way to determine whether the shells came from mortars or from Katyusha rocket launchers. No casualties or damage were reported.

(Iraq may send squadrons of Soviet-built MIG-17 and MIG-21 jets to Jordan to bolster that nation’s defenses against Israeli air attacks, according to reports from Amman to London today. The report also said that Iraq may send additional troops to Jordan, although their number would be limited owing to Baghdad’s continuing war against the Kurds in northern Iraq. The report placed the number of Iraqi troops presently in Jordan at 17,000. Other sources have estimated that 10-12,000 Iraqi troops have been stationed in Jordan since the June, 1967 war.)

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