TEL AVIV (Nov. 23)
Three Egyptian commandos were killed early yesterday in an abortive raid on Israeli position on the east bank of the Suez Canal. A military spokesman said two Israelis were wounded when the Arabs ambushed a patrol less than a mile inside Israel-held territory. The commandos were driven back across the waterway leaving behind three dead, one of them an officer, and several bazookas and Kalachnikof rifles. Three Israeli soldiers were wounded today during an artillery duel at the southern sector of the Canal.
Alert school children in Haifa foiled what was apparently another terrorist attempt to blow up a house on Mount Carmel. The youngsters, spotting a suspicious looking parcel near an apartment building, told their teacher who called police. A policeman dismantled the parcel which contained two and a half kilograms of explosives and a timing device.
The Israeli version of yesterday’s Suez Canal incident varied sharply from Cairo’s announcement that the raiders had penetrated five miles into the Sinai Peninsula, destroyed three Israeli tanks, damaged two others and killed an unspecified number of soldiers. Egypt said three commandos were “left behind.” An Israeli military spokesman termed the Egyptian account “sheer fabrication.”
The latest commando raid came as Israeli authorities began a massive crackdown on Arab terrorists following a bazooka attack Friday on a fuel oil depot in Haifa, two Arab saboteurs from the upper Galilee were killed when their explosive-laden car blew up on the outskirts of Acre, near Haifa. An Israeli spokesman said two bazooka shells fired by a home-made timing device started small fires in tanks containing crude oil and kerosine. The fires were extinguished before they caused serious damage. El Fatah claimed responsibility for the sabotage.
An accelerated effort to track down and arrest Arab saboteurs began in Jerusalem on Friday after a clash near Taibeh Village in which an Israeli border policeman was killed. The action followed disclosure last week of the capture of two terrorist gangs, one in East Jerusalem and one in Hebron. Officials said that some terrorists turned out to be well-off Israeli citizens and that one has a Jewish wife. They were held responsible for a series of grenade acts against crowded busses and planting of explosives near public buildings. Police said four terrorists had planted explosives at Kfar Saba and other places in central Israel. The clash at Taibeh followed the arrest of an Arab suspect who was found carrying a bayonet and a grenade.
Officials made no secret of their concern that many of the arrested terrorists are Israeli Arabs. That concern was apparently shared by Arab elders and headmen in several villages. Shmuel Toledano, adviser on Arab affairs in the Prime Minister’s office, said that he had received messages from Arab officials and an Arab Knesset member, Diab Oubed, denouncing terrorist activities. He said Moslem trustee committees in Haifa, Lydda and Jaffa passed resolutions condemning terrorist acts.