TEL AVIV (Jul. 2)
Israeli Air Force jets shot down four Egyptian MIG 21 jet interceptors in a fierce dogfight over the Gulf of Suez today, the third aerial battle over the Gulf in less than a month. A military spokesman said the fight developed when the Egyptian planes intruded into Israeli air space. The Israeli jets pursued them and four MIGs were seen crashing on Egyptian territory. The spokesman said that the Israeli pilots used both guns and missiles and that the pilots reported seeing two of the Egyptian pilots bailing out. All Israeli aircraft returned safely to their bases, the spokesman said.
Israeli helicopter commandos raided three Egyptian outposts on the shores of the Gulf of Suez about 100 miles south of the Suez Canal last night. They killed 13 Egyptian soldiers in the action and took one prisoner. According to an Israeli spokesman, all of the raiders returned safely to their bases. Israeli and Egyptian artillery and mortars exchanged fire across the Suez Canal yesterday, the 10th successive day of fighting along the 100-mile waterway. The shooting was concentrated near Kantara in the canal’s northern sector and near Port Suez in the south. Huge fires were seen in Port Suez indicating direct hits by Israeli gunners. Two Israeli soldiers were reported injured.
Last night’s commando raids were apparently intended to demonstrate Egypt’s vulnerability to the Egyptians. The targets were near oil fields on the western shores of the Gulf of Suez. A prisoner was taken to refute possible Egyptian denials that any raid had taken place. Egypt officially denied an Israeli raid on electric power lines near Sougah village on the Nile Sunday. Israeli photo reconnaissance planes flew over the target area yesterday and brought home pictures of the damaged electric pylons and Egyptian workers repairing the damage. A military spokesman said the Egyptian Government was desperately trying to conceal the extent of Israeli penetration of Egyptian territory, especially from its own people. An Israeli Army spokesman yesterday confirmed American press reports that Israeli jets had flown over Cairo in mid-June without encountering opposition. Col. Rafael Ephrat said he did not know whether the Israeli pilots had actually buzzed the home of Egyptian President Nasser in a fashionable Cairo suburb as reported, but he said, they did get a good look at the Egyptian capital. The Israeli overflight with no Egyptian interference reportedly infuriated Nasser and caused him to change air force commanders for the fourth time since the June, 1967 war.