Iraqi air and ground military forces joined the war against Israel yesterday, taking an active part in fighting on both fronts, according to the Iraqi military command. Morocco and five other Arab countries are also reported to have sent token forces to the war.
Egypt continued to claim to hold the entire eastern bank of the Suez Canal, while Israeli Premier Golda Meir said Israeli forces had recaptured the Golan Heights from Syrian troops and were pushing the Egyptian army back along the Canal.
Foreign correspondents were barred from both fronts and unable to make independent checks on the claims.
U.S. officials said yesterday that the Soviet Union is sending new supplies to Egypt and Syria in huge military transport planes.
Nixon administration authorities were reported debating increasing U.S. arms shipments to Israel to make up for heavy losses in the new Middle East fighting.
Israeli jets carried the air war into Syria for the second consecutive day, bombing Syrian ports as well as Damascus, the Syrian capital. Attacking Israeli jets also hit Egyptian air bases and radar stations.
But Syria and Egypt countered Israeli claims of victory in the skies, reporting 24 Israeli warplanes downed. Israel claimed it shot down 20 Syrian and Egyptian fighter planes. Neither side gave its own losses.
Israeli jets bombed the Defense Ministry and the government radio station on the eastern edge of Damascus Tuesday. There were reports of heavy civilian casualties and damage to diplomatic installations, including a Soviet cultural center. The Syrians claimed attacks yesterday also caused civilian casualties.
The Tel Aviv command called its targets in Syria and Egypt "military and strategic." It said attacking Israeli jets hit Egyptian air bases at Khusna and Abu Hammad, 27 miles from Cairo.
Some U.S. supplies may already be on the way to Israel. Witnesses reported that a Boeing 707 transport-type plane bearing Israeli markings was being loaded with bombs and air-to-air sidewinder and sparrow missiles at the Oceana Naval Air Station near Norfolk, Virginia.
Earlier, Israeli Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir said in Jerusalem that Israel had lost nearly a billion dollars worth of combat gear in the first 100 hours of fighting.
The most critical losses involve at least 40 to 50 Israeli fighter bombers, representing up to 20 per cent of the more than 300 fighters Israel had when the fighting broke out.
Israeli ambassador Simcha Dinitz told a meeting of American Jewish leaders that "we need time and equipment."
"We have moved to the offensive almost everywhere," Meir said Wednesday in a televised address. "There is absolutely no doubt about the result of the war. We will win it."
In part of her speech, Meir indicated Israel's goal may be to advance beyond the cease-fire lines that existed before the war broke out Saturday.
"We want to hit them, force them back across the lines, and push them beyond the lines to prevent any renewed Arab attack," she said.
"This is the most difficult battle we have faced since our war of independence in 1948," Major General Aharon Yariv said to a news conference yesterday. "We are faced by an enemy enjoying numerical superiority. The Egyptian forces are armed with the most up-to-date. Soviet equipment."
President Anwar Sadat of Egypt said in a message delivered in his name to a Moscow meeting that he and President Hafez Assad of Syria are fighting "a war of liberation with the objective of establishing a just peace."
He said Arab goals were to get Israel out of the territories occupied in 1967 and to restore the national and legal rights of the Palestinian people, who consider the territory of Israel rightfully theirs.