TEL AVIV (May. 18)
Israel Air Force jets attacked Jordanian and Iraqi artillery batteries in northern Jordan for three hours today following the shelling of four settlements in the Beisan Valley. The Iraqi and Jordanian units have been firing 122 mm. field guns at Kfar Ruppin, Ashdod Yaacov, Menahemia and Tel Katzir. All planes returned safely. Israeli artillery went into action against Egyptian positions on the Suez Canal yesterday following two heavy air strikes on gun-emplacements, encampments and missile sites. One Israeli soldier was slightly wounded by Egyptian artillery and mortar fire across the canal. Israeli shells scored a direct hit on an Egyptian oil tank, setting it afire.
Israeli gunners dueled with Jordanian and Iraqi artillery last night following the shelling of Kfar Ruppin, Tel Katzir, Ashdod Yaacov and Menahemia. The Jordanians and Iraqis used 82 mm. mortars and 122 mm. field guns, apparently in retaliation for an earlier Israeli artillery attack on Irbid village, a guerrilla base in Jordan. The Arab gunners stopped firing when Israel Air Force jets appeared overhead and illuminated their positions with flares. A military spokesman said the damage in the Israeli settlements was slight. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan paid a midnight visit to Kfar Ruppin to inspect the damage caused by an earlier shelling.
Cairo claimed that an Israeli plane was shot down over the Suez Canal zone yesterday. Israel said all aircraft returned safely to their bases. Sources here said the intensification of Israeli air attacks along the 103-mile Suez waterway was intended to keep Egyptian laborers from building re-enforced sites suitable for the new Soviet SAM-3 anti-aircraft missiles. The only known SAM-3 are presently located in northern and central Egypt to defend Alexandria, Cairo and the Aswan High Dam. Israel is determined to keep them out of the Suez Canal zone which it considers vital to its defense lines. Previously installed SAM-2 missiles in the canal zone have been destroyed by Israel’s aerial pounding. The Egyptians appear now to be trying to rebuild the damaged sites to accommodate the SAM-3 which are effective against low-flying aircraft. (In Washington, State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey asked at today’s briefing whether the Soviet Union had installed SAM-3 missiles along the Suez Canal, said he had no confirmation of it.)