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Infiltrator Wearing Iraqi Army Officer’s Uniform Slain in West Bank Clash

March 12, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Three Arab marauders, one of them wearing the uniform of an Iraqi army officer, were killed in a clash last night with a three-man Israeli patrol on the West Bank of the Jordan River. The clash touched off a two-hour artillery barrage from Jordanian positions across the river. One Israeli soldier was wounded. Three other Israeli soldiers were injured in a separate incident last night when their command car struck a mine north of Elath in the Negev, near the Jordanian border. One of them was flown to a hospital for emergency surgery.

The West Bank clash began at about 11:00 p.m., local time, when the Israeli patrol ambushed five infiltrators they had spotted moving from the East to the West Bank of the river. They fired at close range, killing one of the Arabs while the others fled in retreat toward the Jordan River. The Israelis pursued them, killing a second marauder. One of the Israeli soldiers was wounded. His compassion, a medical corpsman, stopped to tend his wounds while the third soldier continued in pursuit. The latter ran out of ammunition and was under fire from the marauders. He managed to crawl back to the injured man, took his rifle and killed a third Arab and possibly wounded another. At this point, the Jordanians opened fire from across the river, covering the escape of the rest of the gang.

One of the dead Arabs, believed to have been the gang leader, was wearing a uniform with the insignia of a lieutenant in the Iraqi Army. Three Russian assault rifles of the Klatchnikoff type were found at the scene along with a bazooka, bazooka shells, demolition charges and El Fatah posters.

(A Christian Science Monitor correspondent who visited the Jordanian East Bank area, reported that the civilian population was leaving the Jordan Valley and “farming and other normal activities are giving way to militarization of the valley.” Correspondent John Cooley said that “the stony hillsides bristle with camouflaged camps and gun positions” and he reported finding “guerrilla camps dispersed throughout the valley.” He said the guerrillas “are increasing their control of an enclave running the entire length of the Jordan Valley.” He added that “this valley looks as though it were preparing for another war.”)

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