TEL AVIV (Jan. 24)
Israel Air Force Jets attacked a terrorist base 20 miles inside Syria this afternoon and returned safely to their bases, a military spokesman announced. The target was Tel Arrar, a village said to be the site of the largest terrorist concentration in Syria. The attack was the first air raid by Israel against terrorists since Sept. 5,1970 when jets swept over “Fatahland” on the slopes of Mt. Hermon in southern Lebanon.
Israeli sources said today’s raid was a punitive action taken in response to the sharp rise in terrorist activity along the Syrian border in recent weeks. The sources said further measures would be taken if the terrorist activity continues.
Three armed terrorists were killed last night in a clash with an Israeli patrol near Magshimim settlement in the Golan Heights. The terrorists had infiltrated Israel-held territory from Syria and had set up bazookas to fire on Israeli vehicles on nearby roads. There were no Israeli casualties.
Israeli sources said today that the terrorists in southern Syria have the full support of and are acting in coordination with the Syrian Army. Their main base is at Tel Arrar, about five miles north of the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire lines. Hundreds of terrorists were said to be encamped in the village in tents and trenches which were plainly seen from the air. No anti-aircraft fire was encountered by the Israeli planes.
Security sources said that 11 terrorists captured yesterday in a gun battle in the Jordan Valley were helped by the Jordanian Army to cross into Israeli territory. The terrorists claimed membership in the Salah a Din, a new guerrilla band said to enjoy the support of Jordanian forces. The Jordanian Army has maintained tight control of the borders with Israel since last summer’s clashes with the terrorists.