TEL AVIV (Dec. 9)
One thousand two hundred and fifty-one cases containing 150,000 rounds of 20 mm. ammunition consigned to Egypt were removed from the French vessel Champlion of the Messageries Maritime line this week-end at Haifa and placed under police guard pending investigation.
The seizure of cargo destined for an Arab state was the first in Israel’s history. It followed a check of the ship’s manifest by port authorities when the vessel put into Haifa on a scheduled run to Middle East and Mediterranean ports including Beirut, Lebanon, and Alexandria, Egypt. The Champlion was held up 24 hours to enable removal of the war materiel.
In the past, Israeli authorities have not interfered with cargo consigned to Arab countries carried by ships entering Israeli ports. Authorities explained that their latest action was due to the fact that the seized cargo was of an exclusively military nature. The Egyptian authorities make it a regular practice to seize all cargo, irrespective of its nature, consigned to Israel and forbid transit through the Suez Canal of shipping bound for Israeli ports. The French Legation here has been officially informed of the action.