TEL AVIV (Jul. 1)
Israeli jets struck four guerrilla bases in Jordan in a pre-dawn bombing and strafing attack today. A military spokesman said the targets were near the villages of A Salt and El Nimrin. He said all aircraft returned safely to their bases. The attack, the second by Israeli jets in two days, followed Premier Golda Meir’s warning yesterday that attacks against Israeli border settlements would bring “sevenfold” retaliation.
A significant drop in the number of guerrilla forays since Israeli jets went into action against their bases was noted by Israeli officials today. And for the first time there was no Israeli interference with Jordanian workers repairing the East Ghor irrigation canal damaged by Israeli commandos recently. Mrs. Meir said yesterday that Israel would allow the repairs on the assumption that the Jordanian Government would restrain its Army and guerrillas from further attacks on Israeli settlements.
In other fighting yesterday, two saboteurs were killed in a clash with an Israeli patrol in the Arava district south of the Dead Sea. One Israeli soldier was wounded in an artillery exchange with Egyptian forces across the Suez Canal and one Israeli civilian was injured. A military spokesman said the Egyptians opened fire with artillery and small arms in several sectors during the night.
Israeli officials meanwhile adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward yesterday’s military and political shake-up in Jordan. King Hussein appointed his uncle, Maj. Gen. Nasser ben Jamil, as commander-in-chief of the Jordanian Army, a post the King himself had held. He also demoted his pro-guerrilla Minister of Interior, Akef Fayes, and replaced him with former intelligence chief, Mohamed Rasoul al-Kailani. Gen. Ben Jamil and Mr. al-Kailani have both opposed the presence of Arab guerrillas in Jordan and have warned the King against the guerrillas’ rising power and influence with the Army. Observers here believe King Hussein acted to gain firmer control over his 50,000-man Army and to restrain guerrilla activity which could bring heavier reprisals from Israel.
But Gen. Ben Jamil, in his first statement after assuming supreme command, pledged his full support of what he called “properly organized” commando action against Israel. He said he supported guerrilla sorties that struck the enemy in places the regular armed forces could not reach. He singled out last week’s sabotage of an oil pipeline in Haifa and yesterday’s bomb blast in the heart of Tel Aviv as the type of guerrilla action he approved. “We expect war at any time and we are preparing for it,” Gen. Ben Jamil said.