TEL AVIV (Jan. 13)
Women and children of Avivim, an Upper Galilee settlement spent two hours in bomb shelters last night as Arab marauders lobbed 60 mm. mortar shells at the village from behind the Lebanese border. They drew heavy return fire from Israel guards and police who were credited with discouraging a further assault. Only eight shells exploded, a military spokesman reported. There were no casualties and damage was negligible. The incident was the first on the Lebanese border since last Tuesday when Arab saboteurs blew up an empty house in Shetula village.
An Israeli policeman was hurt near Ramallah yesterday when his patrol car hit a mine. A soldier was wounded by a sniper’s bullet near Kantara at the northern end of the Suez Canal. A military spokesman said a soldier and an Army technician were wounded when Syrian gunners attacked a military vehicle in the Golan Heights.
Military sources reported yesterday that terrorist and saboteur activities showed a marked decline last week — only 29 incidents compared to 42 the week before. The incidents were scattered and resulted in the death of one Israeli soldier and injuries to three others and to a dozen Arab residents. The reported decline in terrorist activities contrasted with claims by Arab commando groups that they were stepping up pressure and had forced Israel to call up reserves and dispatch troop reinforcements to the frontiers. An Israeli spokesman said there had been no call-up of reserves and that troop concentrations were at a normal level.
The decline in commando activity was attributed here to Arab fear of reprisals such as the Dec. 28 raid on Beirut Airport. Israeli military sources further maintained that strategic raids on commando bases had severely handicapped the marauders. It was noted also that winter rains had swollen the Jordan River making infiltration into Israel-held territory from Jordan more hazardous. The relative quiet along the Lebanese frontier was seen as the result of internal political problems in Beirut where Premier-designate Rashid Karami has been unable to form a coalition Government, members holding with a common policy toward Israel.