TEL AVIV (Mar. 29)
Heavy ground and air fighting marked the week-end in which battles flared from the Golan Heights to the southern Dead Sea area and Egypt lost five more of its first line Mig-21 interceptors to Israeli jets over the Suez Canal zone. Israel reported one fatality, 23 year-old Pvt. Dan Meir Tzur of Ramat Hasharon who was killed in a clash with Syrian soldiers near Hispin in the central Golan Heights Friday night. Another Israeli soldier was wounded. The Syrians left one dead soldier behind and bloodstains on the ground indicated that they had suffered additional casualties.
Israel denied a Damascus claim that Syrian forces had occupied 21 Israeli outposts along the cease-fire line in the Heights Friday. A Syrian spokesman said the Israeli strong points were destroyed and that all Israeli soldiers occupying them were killed or wounded. According to an Israeli military spokesman, a Syrian unit of company strength penetrated Israeli territory but was repulsed after bitter fighting. The dead Syrian was identified as a communications man. He had a Russian-made transmitter. The Syrians also left behind a number of rifles, bazooka shells and explosives.
(In New York Israel protested to the United Nations Security Council today over Syrian aggression and violation of the 1967 cease-fire agreement. Israel’s chief representative, Ambassador Yosef Tekoa referred, in a letter to Security Council President Joaquin Vallejo Arbela, of Colombia, to the Syrian Army attack on Israeli positions in the Gold Heights Friday night. Mr. Tekoa’s letter noted that the attack was carried out by Syrian regulars and that the Damascus Government openly claimed responsibility for it. “This is the behavior which the Syrian Government deems appropriate for a member of the Security Council,” the letter said. Mr. Tekoa concluded that “In this circumstance, Israel must reserve the right to take measures necessary for its self defense.”)
ISRAEL AIR FORCE POUNDS EGYPTIAN MILITARY TARGETS TO PREVENT INSTALLATION OF SAM-3
The major air action was over Egypt Friday night and Saturday morning as the Israel Air Force continued to pound Egyptian military positions to prevent the installation of SAM-3 anti-aircraft missile launchers in a wide belt behind the Suez Canal zone. Egyptian MISS rose to challenge them and five were shot down within five minutes. There were no Israeli air losses and the Israeli fighter bombers continued their assaults and returned safely to base. (According to New York Times Jerusalem correspondent James Feron, the Israel Air Force action of the past few days indicated that Israel is not interested in disproving Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ contention that it enjoys decisive air superiority over the Arabs. According to Mr. Feron, what most disturbs the Israelis is not the decision to hold their request for more Phantom jets in abeyance at this time but the indication that their security needs will be dependent, even in the distant future, on the evaluation of a foreign power, however friendly it may be. They believe that President Nixon considered their request for more warplanes as one factor in an involved diplomatic gambit with Soviet Russia.)
Israeli jets also went into action against Arab guerrilla units and supporting Jordanian forces south of the Dead Sea. The assault followed attacks on the Potash plant at Sdom. All Israeli planes returned safely. Israeli patrols exchanged fire with Jordanian units in the Beisan area Saturday. There were no Israeli casualties. Israeli artillery shelled guerrilla positions on the slopes of Mt. Hermon Saturday after Katyusha rocket shells were fired from Lebanese territory at the Upper Galilee settlement of Kiryat Shemona. An Arab woman resident of Gaza was fatally wounded by a hand grenade yesterday. Several other local Arabs were wounded by grenades in Gaza and Raffah. Israeli security forces arrested 30 Arabs in the Gaza Strip on suspicion of terrorist activities.