TEL AVIV (Jul. 21)
All the Egyptian anti-aircraft missiles and missile sites Israel has destroyed in 61 consecutive days of attacks have been replaced, an Israeli staff officer reported today. “The missile situation is unchanged,” he said. “By that I mean the deployment, the number of sites and the limits from the canal are unchanged. They are having no problems replacing missiles.” On the brighter side, he noted that the Israeli strikes had prevented the construction of additional missile sites, although Yitzhak Rabin, ambassador to the United States and former Chief of Staff, said recently that the Soviet-made Egyptian missiles were as close as two or three miles from the Suez Canal. The government has said the closest ones are 15 miles from the canal. Israel has put the number of Egyptian missile bases at about a dozen SAM-2s and three SAM-3s. (In Cairo an Egyptian military spokesman claimed an Israeli Skyhawk was downed yesterday during an Israeli raid on the southern sector of the canal. Israel denied the claim. The Cairo spokesman also alleged that-the Phantom downed on Saturday, which he said had switched tactics and flown low, had been “intercepted from the very first moment.” If true, the claim suggested that the Phantom was shot by an advanced SAM-3, which specializes in hitting low-level aircraft. Israel has no confirmation of reports of Egyptian use of a Soviet-made personal anti-aircraft missile.) In action today, four Israeli soldiers were injured in fire exchanges across the canal while Israeli jets struck Egyptian positions all along the 102-mile waterway, with all planes returning safely. It was reported here that the two months of continual Israeli across-the-canal barrages have succeeded in reducing the number and intensity of Egyptian strikes in the other direction. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan visited today with Rina Hetz, whose husband. Capt. Shmuel Hetz, was reportedly killed Saturday when Egyptian fire destroyed his Phantom while in flight. The Red Cross is still searching for his body. Gen. Dayan also met with Phantom pilots and with the wives of pilots in Egyptian captivity.
The assertion in New York yesterday by Ambassador Yosef Tekoah that terrorist activities from Jordanian territory have increased since the July 7 agreement between the Hussein government and the Palestinian guerrillas was reported here as well. The leeway that Amman has given the guerrillas for their activities has so emboldened them, it was reliably observed here, that they are now attacking Israeli settlements in daylight. Previously, fearing Jordanian Army intervention, they had acted under cover of darkness. Thus the step-up in Israeli strikes, most recently those of Monday, on Jordanian guerrilla bases. A Lebanese Army assertion yesterday that it had pushed back an Israeli unit was followed by an Israeli statement today that the Israeli patrolling of Lebanese border territory continues. There were no Israeli casualties in the attack on the Israeli unit, which apparently did not fire back. Mortar shells from Lebanese soil were fired this morning at Margalioth village in the Upper Galilee, with no casualties reported. Bazooka shells from Syrian territory aimed at an Israeli Army post in the Golan Heights also caused no casualties.