TEL AVIV (Aug. 28)
Israeli commandos penetrated deep into Egypt last night and battered an Egyptian Army headquarters base with powerful short range weapons. All of the commandos returned safely to their bases, a military spokesman reported. The target was the regional headquarters an Manqabad, 200 miles south of Cairo on the Nile River and about the same distance from the Aswan High Dam. The base is near Asyut, the Nile Valley birthplace of Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Israeli sources gave no indication of how the commandos reached their target or how many were involved. It is presumed that they were ferried by helicopters which also carried 120 mm. heavy mortars used to shell the Egyptian base. The target is 145 miles from the nearest possible take-off point on the Israel-occupied Sinai peninsula.
An Israeli spokesman said the raid was in retaliation for continuous violations by Egypt of the June. 1967 cease-fire agreements. There were 126 incidents of Egyptian sniping and artillery fire across the Suez Canal last week. Eleven Israeli soldiers were killed in the canal zone in less than two weeks.
Israeli sources said the attackers who struck at 11:15 p.m. local time achieved complete surprise despite the fact that the headquarters base and nearby army camp were brightly lighted by flames. The Egyptians fired wildly in all directions and also opened fire with anti-aircraft guns, presumably believing that they were under air attack. (Cairo claimed today that a single Israeli aircraft had attempted to bomb the Manqabad base but was driven off and dropped its bombs harmlessly. No mention was made of a commando raid.)
FIRST ISRAELI COMMANDO ATTACK IN MONTHS, WAS AIMED TO SHOW ISRAEL’S STRIKING POWER
The attack was the first Israeli commando raid into Egypt since last month’s foray against anti-aircraft batteries on Green Island in the Gulf of Suez. Last September and last April, Israeli units raided bridges and electric power stations in the Nile Valley.
Observers here said last night’s attack was intended as a further demonstration of Israel’s ability to hit targets deep inside Egypt at will. They said the demonstration was considered necessary in light of Egyptian incitement of a Moslem holy war against Israel for the burning of the El Akla mosque in Jerusalem a week ago. It was also presumably a warning to the Arab League foreign ministers who held an emergency session in Cairo Monday to plan an Arab states war conference.
The Israelis are believed to have used a locally manufactured mortar in the attack–the “Sultam” which is lighter than other mortars of its calibre but fires a more powerful shell than the mortars used by U.S. and Communist forces in Vietnam.
ISRAELI JETS STRAFE JORDANIAN POSITION AFTER MORTAR ATTACK ON ISRAELI PATROL
Israeli jets attacked a Jordanian position near the Damiya bridge today following a mortar attack on an Israeli patrol this morning in which one Israeli soldier was fatally wounded. All the planes returned safely to their bases, a military spokesman said.
Two Israeli soldiers were wounded today during an Egyptian mortar and automatic weapons attack in the southern section of the Suez Canal zone. Sporadic shelling from the Egyptian side was reported during the day.
Five Arab saboteurs who had orders to blow up an olive oil factory, a railway line and a police station in Nablus and Kalkilya on the West Bank, were captured yesterday in the northern Samarian hills. A military spokesman said the gang gave itself up except for one member who grabbed for his gun and was wounded by an Israeli soldier. The gang’s capture yielded a very large quantity of explosives along with detonators, five Russian-made Kalachnikof rifles, six magazines for each, 30 hand grenades, a bazooka and self-firing devices.
A civilian was injured last night when an explosive charge went off underneath a small bridge in Western Galilee just as a civilian car was crossing it. The bridge is on the Idmith-Yarra road.
Israeli forces silenced guerrilla positions with heavy fire today after an Israeli patrol was attacked in the southern Beisen Valley near Kfar Ruppin. The attackers used bazookas and automatic weapons. No casualties were reported on the Israeli side.