TEL AVIV (Feb. 12)
A Syrian MIG-21 was shot down by Israeli fighter planes in a mid-day dogfight that developed over Quneitra in the occupied Golan Heights after two Syrian planes flew over Israel-held territory. The second Syrian MIG apparently fled before the Israeli interceptors arrived. The other crashed over Syrian territory. The pilot was seen bailing out, a military spokesman reported.
Kfar Ruppin in the Beisan Valley came under heavy mortar attack from Jordanian territory last night for the first time since Israel’s December 3 air strike at Iraqi troop concentrations across the Jordan River. Israeli forces returned the fire and no casualties were reported on the Israeli side, though three homes in Kfar Ruppin were slightly damaged. Adult settlers spent the night in bomb shelters. Children have been sleeping in shelters for months as a matter of routine precaution.
Gen. Odd Bull, chief of the United Nations truce observer team in the Middle East, reported today to Secretary-General U Thant that the Suez Canal situation has grown “serious” as a result of continuous exchanges of fire between Israeli and Egyptian forces.
He said that most of the firing seemed to have been initiated by Egyptian troops and was aimed at Israeli Army working crews on the East Bank. (Mr. Thant conferred afterward with Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed Awad el-Kony on the overall Mideast situation, and was believed to have touched upon the Bull report.)
An Israeli soldier was injured yesterday by Egyptian sniper fire–the third such injury in about a week–following a day of sniper fire.