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Israelis Claim 9 Egyptians Are Killed in Abortive Raid at Suez Canal

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Israel claimed today that nine Egyptian commandos were killed in an abortive raid on an Israeli position on the east bank of the Suez Canal last night and that nine other Arabs, described as saboteurs, were slain in two encounters with Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley. No Israeli casualties were reported in either of the actions. The Israeli and Egyptian accounts of the Suez raid differed. An Israeli military spokesman said the Egyptians crossed the canal near Ismailia under cover of a heavy artillery barrage but were detected and repulsed as they approached the perimeter of the Israeli position. He said the raiders left nine bodies behind when they retreated.

But Cairo radio claimed today that Egyptian commandos had killed 30 Israeli soldiers and wiped out an Israeli rocket site. The Egyptians conceded the loss of five men but alleged that their forces destroyed two trucks, a tank and all of the rockets in a five-hour battle.

According to an Israeli military spokesman, the Jordan Valley actions occurred before midnight near Umm Sidra pass where seven saboteurs were killed and near Umm Tutz pass where two more lost their lives. He said the attempted infiltration for sabotage purposes apparently followed a “green light” given by King Hussein of Jordan to the guerrillas once repairs were completed on Jordan’s East Ghor irrigation canal. The canal was sabotaged by Israeli commandos recently in retaliation for attacks on Israeli settlements from Jordan. The Jordanian attacks tapered off afterwards and Israeli troops permitted Jordanian workmen to repair the canal. The spokesman said King Hussein promised the guerrillas continued support but asked them to establish bases in Israel-held territory rather than attack Israel from Jordanian bases. He said that large quantities of fire arms and explosives were found with the slain saboteurs.

Two Israeli settlements in the northern Beisan Valley south of Lake Tiberias were hit by Katyusha rocket fire last night. The targets, Shaar Hagolan and Deganya Bet, sustained some damage but no casualties were reported.

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