TEL AVIV (Jan. 5)
The Israeli Government today issued an official statement revealing that Israeli troops entered Egyptian territory and remained there for three days carrying out a mission which resulted in the damaging of Egyptian military installations. The statement reads:
“In hot pursuit of the Egyptians, Israeli units entered Egyptian territory in the Negev. They took Abou Aureole and certain airfields near E1 Arish. They withdrew after damaging military installations. The United States Government was advised of the operation in reply to its note.
“The Israeli forces captured large quantities of arms, ammunition, artillery pieces and oil. They also took some undamaged Spitfires and several hundred prisoners. The Egyptians suffered hundreds of casualties. The Israeli units stayed in the area for three days.”
An Israeli spokesman refused to comment whether the withdrawal from KI Arish and Abou Augeyla indicates that all forces that crossed into Egypt have been with-drawn. However, be stated that “we do not desire at any time to occupy Egyptian territory.” He added that the U.S. representations to the Government of Israel and the Israeli reply were both made in a friendly spirit, “reflecting the desire for peace and stability in the Middle East with which the Israeli Government identifies itself.”