TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
An Israeli who joined soldiers in an assault on terrorists who occupied his home this morning, killed two terrorists with a burst of machinegun fire and was himself fatally wounded by a grenades. The bitter battle in Kfar Yuyal near the Lebanese border left two Israeli civilians and four terrorists dead and six Israelis injured, including a seven month old boy.
Israeli Air Forces jets retaliated with four strikes against terrorist bases in southern Lebanon today, an area known as Fatahland. The planes attacked Shuba village, a springboard for terrorist incursions into Israel.
The Israeli dead were identified as Yaacov Mordechai and a relative, Nehemia Yossef Chat. The wounded were identified as Simha Mordechai, Yaacov Mordechai’s wife who underwent surgery; her seven month-old son Assaf who was injured in the head and leg; Mordechai Bezalel, Yaacov Mordechai’s brother and Avraham Yossef Chai. The name of the sixth wounded person was not immediately known.
Meanwhile, two civilians were injured this evening when several Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon exploded at the seaside resort of Nahariya at about 6 p.m., local time.
The surviving members of Yaacov Mordechai’s family were reported out of danger at Safad Hospital tonight. The secretary of Kfar Yuval said today’s tragedy only re-enforced the settlers’ ties with their village. He asked that the settlers receive arms to defend themselves.
PERES VISITS VILLAGE
Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Chief of Staff Gen, Mordechai Gur visited Kfar Yuval this morning shortly after the battle with the terrorists. Peres praised the local population for their swift and resolute action against the intruders. He singled out for bravery Yaacov Mordechai who died in the defense of his home. An army spokesman reported that all Israeli planes that participated in today’s raids on Fatahland had returned safely to their bases.
Except for Yaacov Mordechai, who was at a bus stop on his way to work when the terrorists invaded the village, all of the victims were hostages of the terrorists. The latter were identified as members of the Arab Liberation Front, a gang headed by Abdul Wahab el Kiali and sponsored by the Iraqi Ba’ath party, Kiali is reputedly a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization in charge of its education and culture department. The Arab Liberation Front was described as an extremist faction of the PLO similar to the terrorist groups headed by George Habash and 1 Ahmed Jibril. Its members were responsible for a hit-and-run grenade attack on Hanita in December, 1970.
According to eye-witness accounts, four armed terrorists entered Kfar Yuval, an agricultural settlement founded in 1954 by Jews from India, at 5:15 a.m. local time. They were spotted at a road junction and opened fire with bazookas and Kalachnikoff rifles at settlers leaving their homes. The terrorists stormed the first house on the village outskirts, the home of Yaacov Mordechai, and his family and held the occupants hostages. Army and border police units who rushed to the scene, were joined by arms-bearing villagers and exchanged fire with the terrorists. Mordechai was waiting at a bus stop when he heard the shooting and ran back to the village to discover that his own home was the center of the battle.
Eye-witnesses said Mordechai armed himself with a submachine gun and joined an army unit assaulting his house. As he reached the front door, the terrorists hurled a grenade and he fired simultaneously, killing two terrorists but sustaining fatal wounds from the grenade. Soldiers broke into the house killing the other two terrorists. They found one of the hostages dead. The injured were rushed to hospitals by helicopter. The terrorists had shouted demands from the house for the release of 12 terrorists in Israeli jails, including Archbishop Hilarion Capucci who is serving a 12-year sentence for smuggling arms to terrorists in Israel. Kfar Yuval is about three miles from Kiryat Shemona where 18 persons were killed and more than a dozen wounded in a terrorist attack in April, 1974.