TEL AVIV (Jan. 7)
An Israel Defense Force patrol fatally shot an armed intruder wearing a Jordanian army uniform Sunday.
The incident, in the Hamat Gader region of the Golan Heights, was the latest in a series of infiltration attempts and gunfire into Israel from Jordan for which a Syrian-based terrorist group has claimed credit.
The IDF said it was not certain yet whether the infiltrator was a Jordanian soldier or a terrorist disguised as one. He was carrying an M-16 rifle.
But the IDF is convinced that the man did not wander into Israel by mistake, since the border is marked not only by the river but by a protective fence some distance from the river bank.
Shots were fired at an IDF jeep from across the river Friday for the second time in less than a week.
It occurred near the southern end of Lake Tiberias, where the Israeli, Jordanian and Syrian borders converge.
There were no casualties, but tourists were evacuated from the Hamat Gader recreational area and alligator farm.
The Abu Musa gang, a breakaway faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization supported by Syria and led by Col. Saed Musa, announced in Damascus on Sunday that it was responsible for the recent border attacks. It claimed to have killed many Israeli soldiers.
The announcement said Jordanian troops cooperated with the terrorists.
JORDANIANS CONDUCT SEARCHES
Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai, head of the IDF’s central command, said Sunday that Jordan was taking all possible measures to prevent terrorist activities from its territory.
But the Israel Defense Force chief of staff, Gen. Dan Shomron, who accompanied Mordechai on a tour of the area, hinted that Jordanian troops may be less reliable than they had been until now.
Shomron cited the strong showing by Islamic fundamentalists in the recent parliamentary elections in Jordan, which may have changed the attitudes and motivations of Jordanian soldiers.
Nevertheless, Jordanian soldiers were visible from Israel on Sunday, as they conducted careful searches on their side of the river from where the shots had been fired.
Israel has warned Jordan through diplomatic channels to prevent the use of its territory for any form of incursions against Israel. The warnings were issued after several incidents in September and repeated last week.
Shots were fired at an IDF patrol from Jordan on Dec. 31. On Jan. 4, an IDF patrol opened fire on two apparent infiltrators from Jordan, who got away. One of them may have been wounded.
Shomron instructed Israeli troops to be constantly on the alert in the region, but to keep cool heads.