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Egyptian War Minister Says His Country is Winning War of Attrition Against Israel

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Egypt’s War Minister, Mohammed Fawzi, claimed yesterday that his country was winning its declared war of attrition against Israel. According to the semi-official Cairo newspaper Al Ahram, Gen. Fawzi told a secret session of the Egyptian National Assembly that Israeli armed forces are now suffering an average of 150 fatalities a month compared to an average monthly loss of 50 men in 1967 and 82 in 1968. He attributed the results to “greater fighting efficiency” by Egyptian soldiers, better training and better armaments, Al Ahram said.

The Egyptian War Minister said that the ratio of Israel’s casualties to its population was four times greater than the Egyptian figure. He said Egypt was planning to escalate its war of attrition but wared that it must be prepared to absorb counter-blows by Israel, according to Al Ahram.

(Fighting continued along Israel’s borders today. A military spokesman in Tel Aviv said two soldiers were killed and two wounded in an encounter with saboteurs near the Jordan River. Four soldiers and a soldier’s visiting wife were wounded in an early morning bazooka attack by Arab commandos on military headquarters near El Arish in northern Sinai. A curfew was imposed on the area. Jordanian and Israeli forces engaged in an artillery duel across the Jordan River in the Turkmaniyah area today. Two local Arabs were killed by an Israeli sentry in Gaza last night when they failed to reply to a challenge in an area under curfew. Yesterday, Israeli Air Force jets carried out a series of raids on Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi artillery positions in Jordan and hit an Egyptian-manned radar station in southern Jordan. One Israeli jet was downed by anti-aircraft fire–the 15th lost since the 1967 war–but the pilot bailed out safely over Israeli territory. The radar station, which was believed to be monitoring all Israeli flights in the Negev and Sinai, was knocked out early this year but was rebuilt.

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