TEL AVIV (Apr. 23)
Israel announced that three Israeli soldiers were killed in one of two clashes with Egyptian commandos on the east bank of the Suez Canal Monday night. And new, heavy fighting broke out at the southern end of the canal today as an Egyptian spokesman announced that Egypt would not accept the cease-fire so long as Israel continued to fortify its positions on the canal. Lt, Gen. Odd Bull, chief of the United Nations Truce Observers Corps, said UN forces were trying to arrange a cease-fire but the battle, with artillery and tank guns, continued.
Official announcements of Monday’s clash with Egyptian commandos was delayed pending notification of the families of the men killed and missing. A military spokesman said three Israeli soldiers were wounded and a fourth was taken prisoner by the Egyptians. He was identified as Edmond Aharon. Israel has asked the International Red Cross to look after him and see that he is returned as quickly as possible.
Israel reported that 12 Arab saboteurs were killed during the past 24 hours as they tried to infiltrate Israeli territory to disrupt Independence Day celebrations. One Israeli soldier was reported killed in a clash near the Damiya bridge. Weapons and large quantities of explosives were found on the dead guerrillas. An Israeli soldier was injured last night when an Army vehicle struck a mine in the Gaza Strip.
(In other developments in the worsening Middle East situation, Britain today joined the United States and UN Secretary-General U Thant in a warning to the Arabs and Israelis that further ceasefire violations could only delay and hinder Four Power efforts to bring peace to the region.)
(Street fighting and violent demonstrations broke out in Lebanese cities today as students and Palestinian refugees demanded that the Government give all-out support to Arab guerrillas fighting Israel. The disturbances centered in Beirut, where the Cabinet was meeting in emergency session, in Sidon and in El Helweh village, site of a refugee camp of 17,000. Three universities and several high schools went on strike to protest “restrictive measures” adopted against Palestinian guerrillas.
(In Cairo today, the official Government spokesman, Mohammed H. el-Zayyat, claimed that six Israelis were killed in the latest commando raid across the Suez Canal and one captured. He said the prisoner would be displayed at a press conference over the week-end.)
An Israeli military spokesman said the three fatalities were suffered in an encounter with 15 Egyptian commandos who crossed the Suez Canal Monday night near the Bitter Lake. Two soldiers were wounded in the clash and there was evidence of Egyptian casualties. A Russian-made Kalachnikof assault rifle and rubber commando boots were found along with a trail of blood marking the Egyptian’s route of retreat to the canal banks. The other commando raid, in which one Israeli soldier was slightly wounded, took place north of Qantara. The Egyptians were sighted crossing the canal in a boat. They retreated after a heavy exchange of fire, the spokesman said.