TEL AVIV (Jul. 30)
Israeli jets today shot down four Egyptian Soviet-built MIG 21’s in an air battle over the Suez Canal as the MIG’s rose to challenge the fighter-bombers which were carrying out strikes in the canal area for the 70th consecutive day. A military spokesman announced that the planes crashed on the western side of the Canal in Egyptian territory. This was the second air battle this week. On Monday, Israel announced its jets had shot down two Soviet-built MIG 17’s. Israel now claims to have shot down 140 enemy planes since the end of the Six-Day War–28 Syrian and 112 Egyptian. It admits the loss of 25 planes during this period. Military spokesmen again denied any knowledge of a Soviet-Israeli air clash over the Suez Canal on Saturday. The air battle was first reported in a London newspaper earlier this week and claimed an Israeli Skyhawk blew up in midair. Today’s report from United Press International, quoting “sources,” says there were no losses on either side. The Egyptians opened heavy mortar and artillery fire against Israeli positions along the Canal last night and this morning. The fire was returned. Two soldiers were wounded. Twice last night Israeli Jets were called on to silence the Egyptian guns. All planes returned safely.
Some Israeli sources believe the increased Egyptian activity, which followed President Nasser’s acceptance of the American peace plan, is designed to prove to the terrorist organizations that nothing has actually happened and that Egypt will continue to wage the war against Israel. Saboteurs from Lebanon planted explosives under a house in Kibbutz Yiftah in the Upper Galilee early this morning. The explosion caused no injuries but three boys, asleep in the house when the explosion took place, were tossed from their beds. An investigation is under way. Mortar shells were fired at Misgav Am and Kfar Giladi from Lebanon last night. There were no injuries or damage. An Israeli patrol was attacked last night between Jenin and Karbatiyeh in the Upper Samaria District. The guerrillas fled when the fire was returned leaving behind Bren machine-gun ammunition. There were no casualties. An Arab saboteur was killed near Damiyah Bridge last night. Thirty Arabs, who were being held on charges of aiding terrorist organizations and activities, were returned today to Jordan.