TEL AVIV (Apr. 19)
Three Israeli soldiers were killed and eight were wounded in Egyptian air raids in the Suez Canal zone and the Gulf of Suez areas yesterday. One Egyptian Sukhoi-7 bomber was downed by an Israeli ground-to-air Hawk missile and two more Sukhois were hit and may have crashed but no wreckage has been found. The Israeli dead were identified as Sgt. Sassoun Yaffeh, 28, of Tel Aviv, Corp. Ezra Agimi, 38 of Bat Yam and Pvt. Yehuda Shabat, 30, of Ramleh. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan visited the wounded soldiers at a military hospital last night. The body of the downed Egyptian pilot was recovered and the Red Cross has been informed. Katyusha rockets and mortar shells were fired from Jordanian territory last night at Kfar Ruppin, Yardena and Hammadiyah in the Beisan Valley. The fire was returned. There were no Israeli casualties.
A Cairo report that Egyptian aircraft raided Israeli positions along the Suez Canal today was denied by an Israeli military spokesman. Cairo said that one Egyptian plane was shot down in the raid. The spokesman said the Egyptians reported an imaginary raid to account for the loss of one Sukhoi-7 bomber downed by Israel in yesterday’s air raid, a loss that Cairo originally denied. Seven Arab saboteurs were killed in three widely separated clashes with Israeli forces over the week-end. Four of them were shot down yesterday in the Mouadsa refugee camp in the Gaza Strip while resisting arrest. Two were killed Friday night in a skirmish with an Israeli patrol in Upper Galilee near the Lebanese border and another was killed at about the same time near the Allenby bridge when an Israeli patrol intercepted a guerrilla band crossing the Jordan River. There were no Israeli casualties in any of the encounters. Security officials reported the capture of Salik Geradeh, 36, a member of the Palestine Liberation Front’s political committee in the Gaza Strip. He was caught trying to cross into Jordan.
An Israeli army chaplain, who came to a Suez position to supervise preparations for Passover observance, was killed Thursday by Egyptian artillery fire, Meanwhile, the Egyptians rejected a Red Cross request that they transmit to four Israeli prisoners of war, special Passover parcels. Chaplain Izhak Bezalel of Bnai Brak had been scheduled to kosher the kitchen equipment and officiate at the first Seder. He was killed during an exchange of fire. His funeral was held in Tel Aviv Friday. The Passover parcels rejected by the Egyptians contained matzah, wine and Passover sweets, prepared by the Army chaplaincy. The packages were given to Red Cross representatives to bring to two Israeli officers and two canteen workers kidnapped by an Egyptian commando unit. Syrian officials, however, accepted parcels for two Israeli pilots shot down over Syria. The Jordanians accepted a parcel for Shmuel Rosenwasser, a Metullah night watchman kidnapped by guerrillas several months ago.