TEL AVIV (Sep. 12)
Israeli machine-gunners shot down yesterday an Egyptian Sukhoi-7 fighter-bomber over the northern sector of the Suez Canal, the first Egyptian aircraft downed since the cease-fire went into effect 13 months ago. The downed plane was one of two Sukhois that overflew Israeli positions on the east bank of the canal about 15 miles south of Port Said. Officials said it was the 40th such violation of the cease-fire. The planes, apparently on a reconnaissance mission, came in low for close-up photographs of Israeli positions. Israeli anti-aircraft batteries and machine-gunners opened fire and one of the latter scored a direct hit. Another Israeli position reported seeing the hit plane try to gain altitude to enable the pilot to eject and then start a steep dive which ended in a crash and fire-ball on the Egyptian side of the canal. An Egyptian helicopter was seen searching for the downed pilot. Israeli gunners usually open fire on overflying Egyptian planes, apparently to drive them off. Yesterday’s hit was the first scored since the cease-fire began on Aug. 8, 1970.