TEL AVIV (Jan. 18)
Israel Air Force jets continued today to strike at will at Egyptian military targets well behind the Suez Canal line. Rear area camps and supply depots within 12 miles of Cairo were hit as were two camps in the southeast area of the Nile delta and an equipment and supply station at Jabel Hoff. about three miles from the industrial suburb of Helouan Israeli jets also continued their morning and afternoon raids on Egyptian mortar and anti-aircraft gun batteries in the central and southern sectors of the Suez Canal zone. All aircraft returned safely to their bases.
Two Israeli patrols in the Beisan Valley were attacked from Jordanian territory today. They returned the fire and suffered no casualties. Bazooka shells were fired at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights yesterday near Kuneitra and several shells were fired during the night at Neot Hakikar south of the Dead Sea. The fire was returned. No Israeli casualties or damage was reported in either incident. One Israeli jet was shot down Friday during a series of low level bombing and strafing attacks along the Port Suez-Cairo road and the highway linking Ras Zaafarana on the Gulf of Suez with the Nile Valley. The pilot, identified as Capt. Dov Peleg, 28. of Petach Tikvah. was seen bailing out over Egyptian territory. The International Red Cross has been asked to locate him.
Friday’s air attacks were coordinated with Israeli commando raids which hit Egyptian targets within 37 miles of Cairo. The commandos sabotaged telephone and electric power lines along the Ras Zaafarana highway and launched a mortar attack on an Egyptian army camp and military administrative center at Bir Arayda in the Nile Valley. Israeli jets struck at the same time at army camps, motor pools and truck convoys and hit a radar station at Bir Udeib.
MRS. MEIR SAYS AIR STRIKES STRATEGIC RATHER THAN TACTICAL
Premier Golda Meir indicated in a speech Friday that the pounding of Egypt’s rear echelon defenses was strategic rather than tactical. She told an audience at the Industry and Commerce club that “the truth is being driven home not only to Nasser but to the entire Egyptian nation which must now know where their leader is dragging them.”
(In London today, the Sunday Times reported from Cairo that President Nasser is conditioning the Egyptian people to expect Israeli air raids in the coming weeks to edge closer to Cairo. The paper reported that gas masks and capes are being issued to key workers and practice air raid drills are being held to prepare residents of the capital for their first real contact with high explosives.)
( According to the Times, Israel’s strategy “seems to be that these politically embarrassing raids will inhibit President Nasser from escalating the war of attrition–the artillery, air and commando attacks on Israeli territory designed to force political concessions out of Tel Aviv.”)
(The New York Times reported from Cairo today that “more and more Egyptians are learning Russian and now will also be given an opportunity to study Hebrew. According to Times correspondent Raymond H. Anderson, Russian is being studied for reasons of profession, commerce or scholarship. But the courses in Hebrew will soon be introduced at Egyptian colleges “with the aim of fully understanding the activities, mentality and methods of the enemy.”)