TEL AVIV (Jan. 7)
Israeli officials reported today that Jordanians have blown up the Damiya Bridge across the Jordan River, one of the last three road links between Israel and Jordan. They said explosives destroyed most of the Jordanian side of the span and that Jordanians fired artillery and mortars at Israeli forces in the vicinity.
Explosives planted by saboteurs severely damaged the north wall of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist near Jericho last night. The monastery is property of the Greek Orthodox Church. An explosion that blew up an empty house in a Jerusalem suburb last night caused no other damage but rattled windows all over the city. Ten residents of Gaza were injured today, four seriously, when a hand grenade thrown at an Israeli pick-up truck missed its mark and exploded in a crowd.
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan told the Knesset (Parliament) that 470 saboteurs were killed last year but that terrorist activities against Israel have not increased. He denied an Egyptian claim that a new sabotage band was active in the Sinai.
A military tribunal in Tulkarem sentenced a 24-year-old El Fatah commander to life imprisonment and 10 years at hard labor today. The prisoner, Abu Nabil, confessed that he entered Israel with orders to kill Jews and Arab “collaborators” and that he had fired on Israeli soldiers. The indiscriminate nature of terrorist activities was brought out yesterday at a trial in Lydda of four Arabs accused of planting a bomb in the Merkaz movie house in Tel Aviv last May. One defendant confessed that he and his companions intended to blow up the offices of the newspaper Yediot Achronot, but were frightened off by activity there and decided to blast the movie house instead.