TEL AVIV (Jan. 24)
The Egyptians have decided to release the cargo of kosher beef destined for Israel which they removed from the Italian freighter Franca Maria at Port Said several months ago, it was learned here today.
The vessel, which put into Haifa today with another cargo of meat, will turn about and proceed to Port Said, on the Mediterranean end of the Suez Canal, to pick up the confiscated shipment. The Egyptian extension of the blockade of the Suez to Israel-bound food products evoked a number of Israeli protests and aroused discussion among the maritime nations. The issue never came to the point of being presented to the Security Council as a protest, although such action was under consideration by the Israel Government.
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry last night declared that Israel would protest to the Security Council shortly against an “Egyptian act of piracy”–the shelling of the vessel Maria Antonia, another Italian vessel carrying kosher meat for the Incode company, shippers of the Franca Maria’s cargoes.
The Maria Antonio, attempting to enter the Gulf of Aqaba late last December to call at the Israeli port of Eilath was shelled by Egyptian batteries. The vessel turned back, but on January 1 made two more attempts to enter the Gulf and both times was shelled, finally turning about after an Egyptian threat to sink the ship. The captain took the vessel back to the East African port of Massawa, from which he started.