TEL AVIV (Apr. 14)
An Israeli Army officer was killed and three soldiers were wounded in the sixth consecutive day of Egyptian shelling across the Suez Canal. Israeli jets shot down one Egyptian Mig-21 and drove off others in a dog fight over the waterway today. A military spokesman said the Israeli fighters scrambled when Egyptian Migs attempted to invade Israeli air space. One Mig was seen crashing in Egyptian territory as the others turned tail and fled. All Israeli planes returned safely to their bases, the spokesman reported.
The Israeli fatality was identified as Lt. Omri Tachower, 21, of Kibbutz Gvaram. The Egyptian barrage, preceded by rifle and machinegun fire, began at midday, halted and was resumed at about 4:00 p.m. local time. The main targets were in the area of Port Tewfik near the southern end of the canal. The shooting later spread to the Great Bitter Lake area and Ismailia further north. Israeli gunners accepted a UN cease-fire call at 6:00 p.m. local time. The Egyptians however, continued their shelling until 6:45 p.m.
The downed Mig was the fourth Egyptian combat plane shot down by Israeli fighters over the Suez Canal this year. Cairo radio claimed that one Israeli Mirage jet was shot down and another hit in the clash. Egypt also claimed that in the last six days of fighting along the waterway, Israel suffered 200 dead or wounded, lost a dozen tanks, an ammunition truck convoy and scores of half tracks.