TEL AVIV (Sep. 23)
Israeli jets pounded Egyptian artillery positions and fortifications in the Suez Canal zone for an hour today following Egyptian shelling and a mining incident which wounded five Israeli soldiers. According to a military spokesman, the targets were in the Bitter Lake area near the canal’s midpoint. He said direct hits were scored and that all Israeli planes returned to their bases safely. Two of the Israeli wounded were hit during a mortar duel this morning. Three others were hurt when their vehicle struck a mine on a dirt road near the Bitter Lake.
Five Arab guerrillas were killed last night in clashes in the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. A military spokesman said that a sixth guerrilla was killed in the Gaza Strip yesterday when a grenade he was about to throw exploded in his hand. The Gaza Strip encounter occurred near Beth Hanoun where two saboteurs were gunned down. Three others were killed in two skirmishes in the Golan Heights.
Israeli jets attacked Egyptian targets across the Gulf of Suez Sunday and also hit targets on the west bank of the Suez Canal. Three Israeli soldiers were wounded over the weekend in the Suez area. A small bridge was damaged at Al Shatt near the southern end of the canal by explosives planted by Egyptian commandos.
According to authoritative sources here, the almost daily aerial assaults on the west shores of the Gulf of Suez are intended to keep the Egyptians from repairing the damage done to their fortifications and radar installations by Israel’s 10-hour amphibious raid of Sept. 9. The sources spoke of “keeping open” a corridor to Egypt’s interior, implying that Israeli ground forces may strike again deep into Egypt should circumstances warrant such an attack. A military spokesman said the planes involved in Sunday’s assault returned to their basis safely.
An Israeli spokesman hinted that a new assault might be in the offing if Egyptian authorities continued to hold two downed Israeli pilots incommunicado. The pilots, shot down over Egyptian territory recently, have not been permitted visits by representatives of the International Red Cross as stipulated by the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. The pilots were reportedly injured when they bailed out of their aircraft but Israel has been deprived of any information about their condition. A spokesman hinted today that if the Egyptian’s persisted in their attitude, Israel might take “certain actions” to compel Cairo to release the men or to allow the Red Cross to visit them.