TEL AVIV (Jul. 8)
Four civilian workers attached to the Land Reclamation Department were shot and killed at breakfast today in El Hamma by Arab terrorists from Jordanian territory. A fifth worker was wounded. The dead were three elderly Jews of Tiberias and one Israeli Arab. El Hamma is located five miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee, near the Syrian-Jordanian-Israeli border. The shots were said to have been fired at close range. The assailants escaped. The names of the victims were not immediately released. Two Israeli soldiers were injured today in Suez Canal clashes while Israeli planes continued their aerial attacks on Egyptian canal positions. The Israelis hit one SAM-2 surface-to-air missile base in the southern sector. All planes returned safely. (The Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram claimed today that Egypt has shot down five American-built Phantom jets over the Suez Canal during the past week. The paper said that inspection of the planes had disclosed some of the secrets that have made the Phantoms supposedly invincible against anti-aircraft gunning.) There was no confirmation or denial of this report from Israel.
Retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Haim Herzog, former chief of intelligence, today described Soviet advances toward the Suez Canal as part of a “process of gradual nibbling away” at Israel’s military operations there. “The next phase of the leap-frog toward the canal, if it takes place, could place the (Soviet missiles in a position to be effective over the (Israeli) front line,” he said. Chief of Staff Gen. Haim Bar Lev reaffirmed today Israel’s intention to “persist in fighting anyone who tries to undermine out firm stand on this front of the Suez Canal.” He said Israel has always been able to find “appropriate answers” to “difficult challenges and problems which at first sight appeared insurmountable.” Gen. Bar Lev made his comments to a group of officers-in-training. (In Cairo, Al Ahram said Gen. Bar Lev’s claim Monday that at least two SAM-3s had fired at Israeli planes was “a desperate attempt” to preserve the “myth” of Israeli military supremacy, influence American and world opinion in Israel’s favor, and discredit the ability of Egyptian soldiers.)
Tel Yosef settlement in the Beisan Valley was hit by Katyusha rockets last night. There were no casualties or damages. Syrian authorities have asked Israeli authorities to aid United Nations observers and Red Cross personnel in continuing the search for the remains of a Syrian pilot downed over the Golan Heights June 26. Separate Syrian and Israeli searches so far have proved unsuccessful. (In Beirut, Egypt’s Middle East News Agency reported that shooting broke out in the Jordanian capital of Amman at midnight yesterday, with Palestinian guerrilla patrols acting swiftly to close off the area and investigate. The agency said the shooting was “possibly an isolated incident,” and that Amman was quiet by this morning. The incident came half a day after Monday morning’s agreement between the Hussein government and the guerrillas, in which Jordanian sovereignty and guerrilla freedom of action were affirmed. The government also agreed to disband its “Thunderbolt” elite force.)