TEL AVIV (Mar. 2)
Three Israeli soldiers were wounded in a clash with Arab saboteurs in the Golan Heights early today. Two Arab saboteurs were killed last night in a skirmish with an Israeli patrol in the Jordan Valley south of Damiya bridge. No Israeli casualties were reported in that encounter. Israeli authorities today described the situation along the Lebanese border as “particularly grave.” They reported 23 incidents in less than two weeks, most of them inside Israeli territory. A military spokesman said it was apparent that Lebanese authorities reached an agreement with guerrilla bands whereby the latter are permitted to deploy along the Israeli frontier but must refrain from shooting across the border. According to the spokesman, Beirut believes the Israelis will not fire on Lebanese territory if they are not fired on from it.
Only four of the reported incidents involved shooting from behind the Lebanese line. The rest were acts of sabotage committed by guerrillas who managed to infiltrate into Israeli territory. The latest occurred this morning when a water pipe was sabotaged barely 20 yards from the Lebanese border. Arab guerrilla bands were hitherto concentrated in the eastern section of the borderland near the junction of the Israeli, Syrian and Lebanese borders. But they have recently established bases further west. In contrast to the Lebanese situation, Israel’s frontier with Jordan has been relatively quiet. Only 37 incidents were reported last week compared to an average of 70 a week during December and January. The full was attributed here to the difficulties the guerrillas have experienced recently with Jordanian authorities. It permitted settlements in the Beisan Valley to complete their bomb shelters. One of them, which will also serve as a community center, was dedicated at Kfar Ruppin yesterday. It was named for the late Arthur Ruppin, a pioneer Zionist leader.