TEL AVIV (Jul. 7)
Israeli jet fighters shot down two Egyptian MiG-21 jets in a new battle today over the Harm El Sheikh strong point at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba. According to Israeli forces, the engagement began when Israeli jets on patrol duty intercepted four Egyptian MISS. All Israeli planes were reported to have returned safely to their bases.
The downing of the two Soviet-built MISS brought to 27 the number of Egyptian war planes destroyed by Israeli fighters since the June, 1967 Six-Day War. Israel claims to have shot down nine MISS in the last 10 days. The scene of the encounter was also the deepest penetration of Israel-held air space by Egyptian planes to date. Israel reported four Egyptian MISS shot down over the Gulf of Suez last Wednesday. Cairo claimed that an Israeli jet was shot down apparently in the same fight. Israeli sources said all of their planes returned safely.
In other action, an Israeli Army officer was killed last night and two others were wounded in a continuing Egyptian artillery attack along the Suez Canal. The fatality was Israel’s second in 24 hours in the Canal zone. A military spokesman said the Egyptian fire was concentrated south of Qantara and in the vicinity of Port Tewfik at the canal’s southern access.
Jordanian guns, which were quiet while workmen repaired the East Thor irrigation canal near the cease-fire lines, resumed firing yesterday on Israeli positions in the northern Jordan Valley. The attackers used mortars and bazookas but were silenced by Israeli return fire. There were no Israeli casualties. The East Thor canal, Jordan’s Largest irrigation project, was sabotaged by Israeli commandos recently in retaliation for attacks on Israeli settlements by Jordanian Army regulars and guerrillas. Israeli gunners allowed the repairs to be made when Jordanian attacks tapered off. An Arab saboteur was killed last night in an encounter with an Israeli patrol near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. One Israeli soldier was wounded. Two 90-foot towers carrying electric power lines in the Negev were blown up before dawn Sunday. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a guerrilla organization, claimed credit for the sabotage which briefly out off electric power to several settlements in the eastern Negev. Repairs by the Israel Electric Corp. were expected to be completed today. The pylons were located 10 miles from the Jordanian border and 50 miles north of Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat. Power to Eilat was shut off in order to make repairs but that city was provided with electric power in the interim from its own generators.