Yom Kippur War

Egyptian Armor Pounded By Israelis

Reported October 19, 1973, The Global Jewish News Source

Heavy armor fighting was renewed today on the Sinai front with Israeli tanks being aided by artillery and the airforce in pounding Egyptian armor. Meanwhile, the Israeli task force on the western bank of the Suez Canal continued its activities there for the fourth day and attacked rear echelons of supply and command and destroyed the anti-aircraft missiles.

The Egyptians staged a number of counterattacks on both sides of the canal but all attacks were repulsed with heavy losses to the Egyptians. A military spokesman in Tel Aviv estimated the number of Egyptian tanks knocked out during today’s battles on both sides of the Suez at over 100.

One of the Egyptian units which tried to advance in a northerly direction encountered a small Israeli unit. When the Egyptians tried to retreat they came under fire of a well-prepared Israeli ambush and the Egyptian unit was almost totally destroyed. There were some air clashes during the day and 19 enemy planes were downed, three of them over the Mediterranean. Six helicopters were also downed today by the Israelis. Some of these helicopters were airborne troop carriers.

Meanwhile it was more or less quiet on the Syrian front today. However, the Syrians sent planes to attack the Druze village of Majdal Shams on the slopes of Mt. Hermon killing two inhabitants, one of them a woman, and injuring several others.

SIMCHAT TORAH IN SINAI

Last night the Egyptians were silent as the sun disappeared below the horizon beneath a blanket of smoke, dust and fire ending a day of heavy fighting. But it was Simchat Torah and in Sinai, the place where the Torah was given to Moses and the Israelites soldiers could not overlook the usual joyous celebration.

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev holds a Torah during Simhat Torah celebration at Tzrifin base, early 1970s.

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev holds a Torah, Simchat Torah

An Israeli armored unit just returned from battle. But instead of taking some rest, instead of setting to clean the tanks and armament, an Ark was produced and two Torah scrolls were taken out and the feast of rejoicing the Torah was observed. Soldiers, faces smeared with sweat, dust and machine oil, some with blood stains on a temporary bandage for a minor injury, clung to the Torah and danced with it around the tanks and half-tracks.

No synagogue was there. But it was Sinai, it was where the Torah was given, and the rabbi could do nothing more for his soldiers than bring them the Ark and Torah so they could carry out the mitzvah of rejoicing the Torah. Arrangements were made by the army chaplain ship to enable as many soldiers as possible to attend the holiday services and especially the Yizkor services today the last day of Sukkot and the first day of winter in Israel.

TERRORISTS FROM LEBANON ACTIVE

While the large-scale battles on the northern and southern fronts against the regular armies of Egypt and Syria and other Arab contingents continued, the activity on the Lebanese front was almost overshadowed. Since the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Arab terrorists acting from Lebanon have opened a front there. Nightly settlements of the region come under Katyusha rockets, bazooka fire and mortar shells.

Israeli settlements from the Mediterranean shores to the upper Galilee are targets for these deadly rockets, although till now no one has been killed. The area most attacked is Kiryat Shemona, but people there have learned to live in shelters. In other places like Metullah, Manara, Margalioth, Hanita, Betzet and Shlomi, damage has been very slight, with one or two people injured.

Israeli security forces, mainly border police, have fought the terrorists and in a series of ambushes and combing operations some 10 or more terrorists were killed, some captured and the others retreated back to Lebanon. The terrorists are firing tens of rockets nightly at the border settlements.

NAVY PLAYING IMPORTANT ROLE

The Israeli Navy, the surprise of the war, with its sophisticated units and sophisticated equipment and excellent fighters, scored a number of successful operations against the enemy last night Israeli special naval units have penetrated into the Port Said area and in the Ghardaka area–both Egyptian naval bases.

The special units have carried out sabotage acts against installations there and naval units have attacked installations from the sea-side of Port Said in the Mediterranean and the Ras Zaafarana in the Red Sea area. All Israeli naval units returned safely to base. The Israeli Navy up to now sank 11 missile boats and 25 other ships belonging to the Egyptians and Syrians.

Israel’s Navy, in the past the smallest and least celebrated of the nation’s defense forces, is now the first navy in the world to see combat in the age of electronic warfare. An evaluation of the navy’s role in the war, released here tonight by former Navy Commander Shlomo Harel, stated that Israel controls the sea in the battle zone. The Syrian navy has been virtually destroyed and the Egyptian navy is bottled up at its bases.

The freedom of action enjoyed by the Israeli fleet, consisting mainly of fast missile boats, protects Israel’s shores, interferes with the enemy’s mobility at sea, attacks enemy installations nightly and forces the enemy to divert men to guard those installations. The navy is operating as much as 600-700 miles from its bases. Among other things, the navy has carried out successful commando raids against Egyptian naval bases, Harel said.


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Tags: Holidays, History, Yom Kippur, Religion

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