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Israeli Jets Down Three Egyptian Mig-21 Interceptors; Tiberias Shelled for First Time

Israel Air Force jets shot down three Egyptian MIG-21 interceptors in a dog fight over the northern section of the Suez Canal today. The Israeli planes pounded Egyptian military targets in the area for six hours and returned safely to their bases. Two persons were killed and at least four were injured today when Jordanian long range artillery shelled Tiberias on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. It was the first time Tiberias has come under fire. Israeli artillery retaliated. Smoke was seen rising from Irbid village, a guerrilla stronghold in Jordan. A bomb exploded in Jerusalem this morning, shortly before celebrations were to begin marking the third anniversary of the liberation of East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. No casualties or damage was reported.

Guerrilla bases in Jordan opposite the Beisan Valley were bombed and strafed by Israeli jets for five hours today. The air assaults followed two terrorist rocket attacks on Beisan township this morning. All planes returned safely to their bases. Eight Arab guerrillas were killed in a running battle with an Israel Army patrol in the Araba region of the Negev last night. The clash followed a mortar attack on Hatzeba settlement. There were no Israeli casualties. A military spokesman said today’s air battle over the Suez Canal brought to 101 the number of Egyptian planes shot down by Israel since the June, 1967 Six-Day War. The encounter lasted three-and-a-half minutes. The Egyptian MIGs challenged Israeli jets on bombing missions and were shot down with aerial cannon and air-to-air missiles. One plane exploded in mid air. The pilots of the other two bailed out and their planes crashed on the west side of the canal.

A military spokesman disclosed today that Israeli bombing raids during the past three days have severed all road connections between Port Said, at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal and the Egyptian mainland. The spokesman reported Israeli planes were on the attack for 34 hours in three days, an average of almost 12 hours a day. He said huge smoke columns were seen rising from the outskirts of Port Said. Port Said was formerly one of the busiest junctions on the Mediterranean. All shipping entering and leaving the Suez Canal passed through its harbor. Along with Alexandria to the West it is presently a main entreport for Soviet cargo ships bringing military equipment to Egypt. Tiberias is the largest Israeli town to have come under Arab gun fire since the Six-Day War. Dating from the period of Roman rule in Palestine, it is famous for its antiquities and is a popular resort. The bodies of two Syrian soldiers killed in a clash with an Israeli patrol on the Golan Heights were returned to Syria today under Red Cross auspices.

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