Rochester, N.Y. Woman is First American Tourist Killed in Israel by Arab Fire

A young American tourist was killed and a companion was wounded today in a burst of Arab shell fire that struck Kallia beach on the north shore of the Dead Sea where the two were preparing to swim. An Israeli civilian was also killed. Three other Americans were wounded in the attack, as well as an Arab taxi driver who drove the Americans.

Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem identified the dead woman as Shirley Louise Anderson of Rochester, N.Y. and said that Elaine Bonnett, 27, of Lodi. Cal. suffered shrapnel wounds in the arm. The metal was removed at the hospital. None of the wounded was on the critical list. They were reportedly the first foreign tourists to be hit by gunfire since the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Some 70 Russian-made 122-millimeter mortar shells were reported to have hit a parking lot near the beach and shrapnel riddled the cabin where the two girls were changing for their swim. Four taxis were set on fire. The beach is 15 miles from Jerusalem and three miles south of the Abdullah bridge spanning the Jordan River.

There were conflicting reports about the origin of the shell fire. One source said the victims were caught in a mortar and artillery duel between Israeli and Jordanian forces. Another source attributed the shelling to Iraqi units stationed in Jordan. They said the shell fragments were from mortar shells used by the Iraqi Army but not by Jordanian forces.

Miss Anderson and Miss Bonnett were said to have been visiting Israel on their way home from Kinshasa in the Congo where they had been teaching at the American Community School for the past two years. The school is run by the Christian services program of the Mennonite Brotherhood.

The girls had gone to the beach with 23 other tourists. The beach is reached by a winding and steep road which made it almost impossible to escape while the shelling was in progress. An Israeli military spokesman said that the artillery fire which was aimed at the beach came at the end of a barrage that had first been directed against Israeli military positions about five miles north. The beach is a stopover point for tourists.

NEXT STORY