TEL AVIV (Dec. 11)
Israel Air Force jets shot down three Russian-built Syrian MIGs in a dogfight over Damascus today as residents of the Syrian capital watched from roof tops. An Israeli military spokesman said the MIGs were downed by gunfire and air-to-air missiles. He said the pilot of one plane was seen bailing out, another plane exploded on reaching the ground and the third exploded in midair. All Israeli aircraft were reported to have returned safely to their bases.
Israeli jets staged a two-and-a-half hour attack on Egyptian positions in the Suez Canal zone today and returned safely to base. Five Israeli soldiers were wounded, one of them fatally, in an Egyptian artillery attack in the Dever Suwer section of the Canal yesterday. Two Arab saboteurs were killed last night in an encounter with Israeli border police near Metullah on the Lebanese border. The saboteurs apparently intended to plant explosives at a road-building equipment pool nearby. Israeli artillery exchanged fire with Jordanian and Iraq batteries in the Beisan Valley area last night following mortar attacks on Yardena, Haon and Ashdot Yaacov. Israeli long range guns shelled the Jordanian town of Irbid aided by flares dropped from Israeli planes.
The air battle over Damascus culminated three days of artillery battles along the Israel-Syrian demarcation line in the Golan Heights. According to an Israeli military spokesman, Syrian forces shelled Israeli tractors and bull dozers building a road parallel to the demarcation line on Monday. Work was halted temporarily while United Nations observers and Israeli surveyors examined the road building site and agreed that it was well within Israel-occupied territory. When the work resumed, the Syrian batteries opened up again and Israeli artillery returned the fire. Direct hits were scored on a Syrian bunker and two anti-tank gun sites, Syrian soldiers were seen running as ambulances drew up to evacuate casualties. But the Syrians renewed their fire last night. Israeli jets went into action and Syrian Jets rose to meet them in an aerial battle that developed over Damascus. Syrian sources said Israeli planes attacked Syrian airfields and military objectives. It was not clear whether the new Damascus Airport came under attack.