TEL AVIV (Jan. 21)
An Israeli armored reconnaissance force entered Jordan last night in a mop-up operation against saboteurs believed responsible for a recent wave of rocket attacks on the potash plant at Sdom on the south shore of the Dead Sea. The armored unit was supported by Israel Air Force jets in operations that kept them on Jordanian soil for some 20 hours. A military spokesman announced that the force returned to its base at 2 p.m. local time today without sustaining casualties or damage to its equipment. He said five saboteurs were killed in a clash near the Jordanian village of El Saffi and that a number of vehicles bearing El Fatah insignia, including an armed jeep, were damaged.
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said today that Israeli action against Jordan is restricted because of political considerations. He said that since both Jordan and Israel are supported by the United States “we may face a difficult situation along the Jordanian frontier.”
DAYAN REJECTS SUGGESTION THAT ISRAEL SEIZE GILEAD HEIGHTS
Gen. Dayan spoke to angry settlers of Kibbutz Maoz Chaim in the Beisan Valley who are demanding action to halt the almost daily attacks from Jordanian territory. He rejected a suggestion that Israeli forces seize the Gilead Heights in Jordan, facing the Beisan Valley. But he pledged that Israel’s armed forces would do their utmost to protect life and property in the Beisan and Jordan Valleys. He blamed saboteur activities primarily on King Hussein of Jordan who, Gen. Dayan contended, could control them if he was so inclined. Referring to the political restrictions that bar Israel from taking tougher action against Jordan, the Defense Minister said “along our southern frontier with Egypt, where the Russians are, we have more freedom of action than against Jordan.”
A military spokesman described as “complete nonsense” a Cairo report today that Egyptian forces killed 10 Israeli frogmen who attempted to swim across the Suez Canal near Ismailia Sunday night. The report was published in the semi-official newspaper Al Ahram. It said that an unspecified number of Israelis were killed trying to retrieve the bodies of the frogmen.
Israeli security forces arrested 14 Israeli Arabs in Tyra village near Kfar Saba yesterday on charges of sabotage and membership in El Fatah. They have been remanded by a magistrate pending trial. Large caches of arms and explosives were found in the village. According to Israeli sources, some of the suspects have confessed to various acts of sabotage and attempted sabotage in Israel’s Sharon Valley. These included planting a hand grenade near a podium where Deputy Premier Yigal Allon was scheduled to speak during last October’s election campaign.