TEL AVIV (Oct. 20)
Three Israeli soldiers and two civilians were wounded by Egyptian mortar and artillery fire across the Suez Canal last night and this morning. A military spokesman reported a series of artillery exchanges near Port Tewfik but denied Egyptian claims of a major artillery battle followed up by an Egyptian commando foray against Israeli positions on the Canal’s east bank.
The spokesman said the Egyptian claims of a raid that destroyed Israeli armored vehicles and fortifications and caused heavy casualties were “colorful fantasies,” totally untrue. He said mines were discovered on the east bank of the Canal last night and that Katyusha rockets were fired north of Kantara.
Israeli forces fired mortars at guerrilla positions inside Jordan last night after an Israeli military post near Tirat Zvi in the southern Beisan Valley was attacked with bazookas. A railway line and a viaduct in the Gaza Strip were damaged by explosions last night.
Five Arab saboteurs were sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday. Four of them were members of an El Fatah gang captured near Nablus last August with large quantities of high explosives, arms and ammunition. Their leader reportedly received guerrilla training in Communist China and had planned extensive sabotage on the West Bank. The fifth saboteur was a member of the Syrian-sponsored Al Saiqua guerrillas captured near the Damiyah Bridge in the Jordan Valley last May.
Six Arab saboteurs were killed and five Israeli soldiers were wounded over the weekend in scattered clashes in the Golan Heights, Jordan Valley, West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Canal zone, An official communique described the weekend as one of the quietest in recent weeks along Israel’s borders and the cease-fire lines.