TEL AVIV (Jul. 15)
Israel Air Force jets attacked targets in Egypt and Jordan today and returned safely to their bases. The attack over Jordanian territory lasted almost an hour and concentrated on guerrilla bases and Jordan Army positions. A military spokesman said Jordanian regulars were aiding guerrillas who shelled Yardena and Beth Yosef settlements in the Beisan Valley last night. Metullah, Israel’s northernmost settlement, came under mortar attack from Lebanese territory last night and this morning. Some cultivated farmlands were set on fire but there was no further damage reported in either attack and no casualties. Israel Air Force planes ranged over the northern and southern sections of the Suez Canal zone today bombing artillery emplacements. Cairo reported that 20 Israeli planes struck at military positions at Port Tewfik, Port Suez, Callah and Qantara. According to Cairo the planes were engaged by Egyptian anti-aircraft defenses. Jordan reported today that Israeli air craft strafed a village near the Syrian border wounding 13 farmers. An Israeli military spokesman said Jordanian Army regulars have been aiding guerrillas in stepped up attacks on Israeli border settlements. He said the cooperation was the result of an accord signed last week between King Hussein’s government and the Palestinian guerrillas. Two Arab saboteurs were killed this morning in a clash with an Israeli patrol north of the Banias River on the Golan Heights. One Israeli soldier was injured in this clash.
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan today refused to say whether the Israeli Air Force had been instructed to avoid engagements with Soviet pilots “under any circumstances.” The question had been asked at the beginning of today’s Knesset meeting. At the same time Gen. Dayan said it was not true that Soviet pilots in Egypt had been instructed to discontinue their operational flights for the time being. On the contrary, he said, “The Soviet pilots are continuing their flights. Elsewhere, too, Soviet participation in the Egyptian conduct of the war has increased. Egypt’s anti-aircraft defense system for instance now has more Soviet personnel than before.” In answer to questions, Gen. Dayan made the following points: the presence of foreign mercenaries with Arab armies had not been proven although Israel had information that “foreign volunteers” from various countries were serving with Arab guerrilla forces in Jordan. He did not identify the countries. He said Israel hadn’t clashed with the volunteers yet. Up till now not a single mercenary has been encountered or captured. Since the end of the Six-Day War Israel has lost 14 planes on the Suez Canal front. (The Egyptians claim to have shot down 202 of Israel’s planes.) The Egyptians have never yet taken a single Israeli position. There are 11 Israeli prisoners in Egypt including two civilian employes of a “shekem” military canteen. Israel has 69 Egyptian and 39 Syrian prisoners.