TEL AVIV (Nov. 9)
Israel Air Force jets downed two Syrian MIG-21s in a dog-fight over the Golan Heights this afternoon. The Israeli planes also attacked Syrian artillery and anti-aircraft positions including a SAM-2 missile site which was destroyed, a military spokesman announced here. Damascus radio claimed that Syrian fighters downed two Israeli jets. Israel said all its planes returned safely to their bases.
Three Israelis, including two civilians were wounded during a three-hour artillery exchange between Israeli and Syrian forces along a 40 kilometer front this afternoon. Israel said the Syrian shells caused “significant damage” in Ein Zivan and Ram-at Magshimim settlements where machine shops and livestock were hit. One of the wounded Israelis was reported to be in a serious condition.
The new outbreak of fighting occurred following an Israel Air Force attack at noon today on two Syrian Army outposts in the Golan Heights through which terrorists allegedly passed on their way to commit acts of sabotage in Israeli territory. At about 3 p.m. local time, Syrian artillery opened fire in retaliation for the air attacks and Israeli artillery returned the fire. Israeli jets were called in to silence the Syrian guns and encountered a number of Syrian MIG-21 interceptors, two of which were shot down according to the Israeli announcement.
Except for the dog-fights, today’s events were a replay of a clash two weeks ago when Syrian artillery shelled Israeli positions on the Golan Heights in retaliation for earlier Israeli air strikes on terrorist bases and an Army camp in Syria. Israel has stated that it holds the Syrian Army responsible for the acts of Syrian-based terrorists. This morning, an Israeli patrol surprised a terrorist gang in the Golan Heights preparing an ambush of electrically activated mortar shells. The terrorists fleu across the Syrian border as the Israeli soldiers approached. An Israeli tractor driver was injured yesterday by a mine planted on a dirt road near Bouqaata on the Golan Heights. Those and other recent incidents were attributed to terrorists who entered Israel with the assistance of the Syrian Army outposts that were the targets of today’s air attacks.