TEL AVIV (Jul. 15)
Israeli forces virtually wiped out the terrorist gang responsible for the July 7 fatal rocket attack on Petach Tikvah in a brief battle near the banks of the Jordan River last night. Five of the gang were killed outright and a sixth died of wounds although two Israeli doctors tried to save him. An investigation of the battle site today indicated that a seventh member of the gang may have escaped. There were no Israeli casualties. In addition to rifles, grenades and compasses, maps of Petach Tikvah and the surrounding area were found on the bodies confirming that these were the terrorists who fired the Katyusha rockets which killed three elderly women and a five-year-old girl in Petach Tikvah a week ago.
A military spokesman said the gang had been hiding out since the attack in an effort to avoid detection. Yesterday. assuming the man-hunt was over, they made for the Jordan River hoping to cross it after dark. They were intercepted by an Israeli patrol. In the ensuing battle the terrorists threw hand grenades but were gunned down in short order. The destruction of the gang confirmed Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s prediction after the attack on Petach Tikvah that the perpetrators would be caught. The fact that the terrorists managed to cross the Jordan undetected and set up their rocket launchers within range of the Israeli city of 80,000 confirmed Dayan’s statement at the time that such terrorist attacks cannot be entirely prevented.