War broke out in the Middle East today between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The White House said the hostilities were "large scale" and Israel admitted suffering losses.
Israel was battling Egypt, Syria and Jordan on the ground and in the air and King Faisal ordered his Saudi Arabian troops to attack through Jordanian territory. The war quickly engulfed the holy city of Jerusalem.
Major air battles were reported and both Israel and the Arabs claimed heavy enemy losses in the conflict which each side blamed the other for starting. Heavy armored clashes were reported in the Negev Desert.
There appeared no doubt Israel-a nation of 2,500,000 persons and only a sixth the size of Ohio-was battling for its life. Broadcasts by Israel officials underlined the gravity of the situation. Premier Levi Eshkol said, "We shall defend this country behind every hill and wall. Be strong, for our entire country has become a battlefield."
Fighting was reported in Jerusalem itself with the Jordanians attacking with mortar, bazookas and artillery while the Jordanian Air Force bombed targets within Israel.
Radio Amman in Jordan said fighting was underway on both sides of the 329-mile border with Israel and that Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi air forces "are launching joint air raids against Israeli land targets." It said three Israeli jets were shot down in a bombing raid on Amman.
Aid raid alerts sounded constantly in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Alexandria, Damascus and other major cities in the Middle East. Heavy anti-aircraft fire was heard in Cairo as Israel apparently bombed airfields around the Egyptian capital.
Cairo reported 70 Israeli Air Force planes shot down. The other Arab capitals reported smaller numbers.
The Israeli Embassy in Paris said 120 Egyptian planes were destroyed or damaged, but a military spokesman in Jerusalem said the loss reports were premature.
The heaviest fighting was along the 117-mile long Israeli-Egyptian border in the South. But Jordanian troops firing from Mount Seopus opened a mortar barrage on Jerusalem.
One Arab nation after another declared war on Israel -- Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, the Sudan and the United Arab Republic. Arab nations called it a "holy war" aimed at destroying Israel.
Crowds in Algiers rioted against American policies and broke windows in the American cultural center. Other anti-American and anti-Israel demonstrations swept a number of other Arab capitals.
One of the hardest hit sections of Jerusalem was Mea-Shearim, the ultra-Orthodox quarter close to the Old City. Roads leading to the Mandelbaum Gate between the divided city were hit. One American wounded was identified as Ted Yates, a television producer for the National Broadcasting Co.
Radio Israel broadcasts indicated the Israelis were scoring some gains in the Sinai Desert, where their forces quickly knifed through to the Suez Canal Zone in the 1956 Suez crisis.
Israel gave all indications it had been taken by surprise by an Egyptian attack in the Gaza area before dawn today. Cairo said Israeli troops attacked first.
The fighting flared with stunning suddenness on the 21st day of a Middle East crisis that developed rapidly when Egypt announced it was blocking the Gulf of Aqaba, Israel's only outlet to the Red Sea and when Egypt forced a UN peace-keeping force to leave the 117-mile long Egyptian-Israeli frontier.
It was a war that could lead to a confrontation in the Middle East between the United Sates and the Soviet Union. Russia in general supports the Arabs and the U.S. in general backs Israel.
An Egyptian Communiqu