Christmas day killing; Israel claims Jordan under threat

December 26, 2001

I attach below some information on the death of Sgt. (res.) Michael Sitbon, killed in a rare terror attack on the Jordanian border. Israel's Ambassador to Jordan David Dadon says in the second article below that many Arab states are looking to undermine Jordan.

-- Tom Gross



FIRST ISRAELI FATALITY ON JORDANIAN BORDER SINCE 1995

Reservist phoned wife moments before he was shot dead
The Jerusalem Post Online
December 26, 2001

Sgt. (res.) Michael Sitbon called his wife yesterday on a cellular phone in the midst of gunbattle and assured her he was fine.

Moments later he was shot dead as his unit pursued terrorists along the border with Jordan.

Sitbon, 23, of Beit Shemesh, was killed, and four other reservists wounded two of them seriously in a rare terror attack along the Jordanian border, near moshavim Yardena and Beit Yosef, yesterday morning. It was the first Israel fatality along the Jordanian border since 7 Israeli schoolgirls were shot dead in 1995.

Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot published today accounts of the final frantic phone conversation between Sitbon and his wife, Michal.

"Don't worry. I can't talk. We're under fire. I'll call you back," Sitbon told his wife.

Sitbon, a medic, phoned her back a few minutes later and assured her: "Everything is quiet and all right. We have one casualty. We are looking for a terrorist cell. I'll call you back."

Some moments later he was shot and killed as he treated one of the wounded, the accounts said.

Sitbon's reserve tour began on December 9 and was to have finished next week.

His brother, Roniel, told the newspaper, "It's hard for me to talk about my brother in the past tense. He was a person whose only interest in life was helping others. I will remember him as a man with ideals, a perfect brother, a leader."

 

"SEVERAL ARAB STATES TRYING TO UNDERMINE JORDAN"

Israeli Ambassador to Jordan: Arab states trying to end regime

Israel's Ambassador to Jordan David Dadon said that several Arab states are running terror cells trying to distabilize Jordan from within.

"There are elements interested in undermining Jordan. The same elements send terror cells to carry out attacks against Israel," Dadon told Army Radio in an interview this morning.

"We are talking about the same war on terror ... Jordan is one of the Arab states on the front line [of the war]," Dadon said.

Sgt. (res.) Michael Sitbon, 23, of Beit Shemesh, was killed, and four other reservists wounded two of them seriously in a rare terror attack along the Jordanian border, near moshavim Yardena and Beit Yosef, yesterday morning.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The intimate military-to-military cooperation between the IDF and the Jordanian Armed Forces, one of the region's best-kept secrets, helped contain yesterday's ambush along the Jordan River.

The well-oiled mechanism of dialogue on the divisional and brigade level kicked in immediately. Jordanian troops closed in on the ambush site from the east, as IDF forces engaged the infiltrators. Coordination was so tight that both sides used maps with joint points of reference.

The prolonged burst of firing along the Jordanian border near Moshav Yardena and Moshav Beit Yosef was as sudden as it was unexpected.

It shattered the tranquility that has characterized what some local residents refer to as "the peace border" for the last few years.

It also turned back the clock to the 1968-70 War of Attrition, when places like Yardena and Beit Yosef were literally on the frontline.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.