4 Israelis slain in attack near border with Egypt Suicide bomber attacks in Lebanon

November 26, 1990|By New York Times News Service

JERUSALEM — &TC JERUSALEM -- Four Israelis were killed and more than two dozen wounded when an Egyptian border policeman crept across the frontier yesterday morning, stationed himself in a ditch beside a highway and then opened fire on passing vehicles.

The incident was one of three attempted or actual terrorist attacks yesterday.

In southern Lebanon, a teen-age girl who had strapped high explosives to her body ran toward two soldiers patrolling Israel's self-declared security zone about three miles north of the border.

"She exploded herself, lightly wounding the two soldiers," the army said.

Earlier, the navy announced that it had sunk a small boat carrying five guerrillas from southern Lebanon toward the Israeli shore.

In the Sinai incident, soldiers and a security officer returned fire, apparently wounding the man, who then fled back into Egypt, where the authorities say he is under arrest.

Witnesses said two Egyptian policemen in a border post overlooking the highway watched but took no action during the incident, which lasted about 15 minutes.

Egyptian officials expressed regret, but Israeli officials were clearly angry.

"It's a very serious situation that has to come to an end," Foreign Minister David Levy said last night. "We expect that the Egyptians will do everything necessary to bring this person to trial, first of all, and second, to put an end to the continuation of the slaughter of Israelis on Egyptian territory and along the border."

The site of yesterday morning's attack, about 12 miles northwest of Eilat, is a stretch of highway dotted with military installations, and the road usually carries military traffic and civilians from Eilat who work at the bases.

The attacker, whom the Egyptians have not identified, apparently crept across just after dawn. He wore his border police uniform and carried an AK-47 assault rifle.

As his first victim described it, the attacker found a dry river bed that runs under the road about 300 yards from the border. He lay in a prone military firing position and waited for traffic.

"I was the first car that was shot at," Chief Master Sgt. Semach Kapach said as he sat on a gurney in the emergency room at Eilat's small Josef Tal hospital, receiving treatment for light wounds.

Next, another non-commissioned officer drove past alone in a Peugeot. The Egyptian shot him as he passed, "and he managed to go another few hundred meters and apparently died in his car," said the military commander of the region, a brigadier general who did not give his name.

Then an empty military bus passed. The gunman shot at the driver, who stopped and got out before he was shot and killed, the army said.

The next vehicle, a military van, stopped, "apparently because he thought there was an accident on the road," the local commander said. The killer stopped by the car, he added, and the victim "was shot from very close range and killed in his vehicle."

Finally came a regular commercial bus loaded with civilians and military personnel.

A passenger, Shimon Ben Shitrit, 54, who was being treated for light wounds at the hospital yesterday afternoon, said: "We saw a man who signaled us to stop. An army bus was stopped across the way, and since the man was in uniform, we thought he must need help. But when we got close, he opened fire."

The man sprayed the windshield with heavy fire, pausing occasionally to reach into his bag and change clips.

The driver, Eliezer Wahabe, 36, was fatally wounded.

A security officer on board opened fire with his Uzi submachine gun, apparently wounding the Egyptian. At least one other soldier fired at him, too. And then the man fled back toward the border, trailing blood all the way.

On board the bus, 26 people were wounded, five of them seriously.

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