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North Korean Pilots Fighting Israelis

October 19, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Defense Department said today that North Korean pilots flying MIG-21s have fought Israeli war planes within the last 24 hours. The Department also reported that a new Soviet missile system, the SA-7 has been responsible for taking a heavy toll of Israeli fighter planes.

According to Department spokesman William Beecher, U.S. Intelligence reports had it that the Soviet-supplied MIGs were flown by a group of 30 North Korean pilots stationed at an Egyptian air base south of Cairo. He said the North Korean pilots were reportedly engaged in a small skirmish on the west side of the Suez Canal but could not pin-point the exact location of the action.

Referring to the SA-7 missiles, Beecher said they were a track mounted version of the Soviet heat-seeking missile which is usually fired by individual soldiers from the shoulder. Acknowledging that such a missile would be very effective against a low flying aircraft, he added that the SA-7 accounted for more losses by the Israelis than the Pentagon had originally thought. The SA-7, which can be fired in salvos of four to eight missiles at a time, together with the SA-6 missile which is effective against higher flying planes, caused most of the estimated loss of 100 planes lost by the Israelis to date, Beecher said.

He said he believed both Syria and Egypt have the SA-7 which like the U.S. Redeye missile, can home in on plane engines. It is directed, he reported, by radar to the general area of its target. He declined comment when asked if Soviet personnel were operating ground-to-ground radar to direct fighter aircraft and ground-to-ground missiles. He did say, however, that Soviet military advisors were in Syria and Egypt before the war began and believed this was still the case.

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