TEL AVIV (Jul. 24)
Two Israel Air Force planes were attacked by Egyptian ground-to-air missiles while on a routine flight over the Sinai peninsula today. The planes evaded the missiles and returned safely to their bases, according to military sources here. The attack was the first of its kind since last Sept. when Egyptian missiles downed an unarmed Israeli transport plane over the Sinai.
Israeli sources said it was still unclear whether today’s attack was at the initiative of a local commander motivated by patriotic feelings on the 20th anniversary of Egypt’s independence or was carried out on orders from higher echelons. Some sources here said the departure of Soviet advisors from Egypt may have undermined the strict discipline maintained on Egyptian officers and men manning the Suez Canal defenses.
Israel has lodged a complaint with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) over the incident. It was learned that four missiles were fired of the SAM-2 and SAM-3 type from batteries located at Ismailia in the central sector of the Suez Canal zone. Egyptian anti-aircraft guns also went into action. There was no Israeli return fire.
The type of Israeli planes fired on was not disclosed. (Cairo radio claimed today that an Israeli Phantom jet was downed.)