TEL AVIV (Jul. 24)
Israeli jets shot down seven Egyptian warplanes today in savage air and ground clashes in the Suez Canal sector and may have scored hits on two more planes, the Israeli military spokesman said. The battle followed an attack on Israeli positions by Egyptian Sukhoi-7 bombers and MIG fighters in which one Israeli soldier was killed and eight injured. All Israeli planes returned safely to base.
The Egyptian pilot of one of the Sukhoi bombers shot down in the blazing aerial duel, identified as a Major Nadib Said, bailed out into Israel-held territory and is now an Israeli captive, it was reported. The events today were a repetition of the fighting last Sunday. After continued and repeated Egyptian violations of the Suez Canal cease-fire, Israeli planes went into action this morning and blasted targets on the Egyptian side of the canal for three hours without any Egyptian air opposition, the spokesman said.
During the initial Israeli air assault, a heavy artillery duel developed along the northern section of the Canal. Then Egyptian bombers and fighters attacked Israeli positions and the Israelis threw into the fray their jet fighters. Hawk ground-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns. Four of the Israeli soldiers injured in the air attack were only slightly hurt. The other three injured soldiers were hit during the artillery barrage.
Pilot and observation post reports indicated that the Egyptians suffered heavy damages and many injured and killed by the air blows. At least four Egyptian SA-2 ground-to-air missile batteries were smashed, a number of artillery and mortar positions destroyed and damage inflicted on Egyptian strongholds along the Canal. Early in the evening shooting subsided and quiet was reported on the canal sector ending a day-long bombardment by land and air.