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U.N. Truce Body Takes “serious View” of New Gaza Incident

United Nations truce headquarters here has taken a “serious view” of the seizure of an Egyptian military jeep in the demilitarized zone near Auja yesterday according to a communique issued last night. The communique blamed Israel settlement members for removing the jeep and called upon the Israel authorities to return the vehicle.

The Israel Foreign Office, meanwhile, took exception to the issuance of the UN communique, noting that only two weeks ago an Israel car was attacked and forcibly taken over the border by Egyptian armed forces and the UN made no public statement about the matter. The Foreign Office also pointed out that the Egyptians were in the demilitarized zone under a special agreement, not under the terms of the armistice pact, and that they were obligated to use certain approaches and were not allowed freedom of movement in the area. Until an examination ascertains whether the jeep was entitled to be where it was seized, the vehicle will remain detained, the statement added.

The incident developed yesterday when an Egyptian sergeant drove the jeep to the scene of a meeting of UN, Israel and Egyptian liaison personnel working on a border demarcation problem. The sergeant, without permission, entered the area looking for the Egyptian officer. The Israel liaison officer ordered him off the scene, whereupon the UN officer decided to recall the entire party. At this point the settlers intervened and seized the jeep.

(The Israel-Egypt Mixed Armistice Commission has reminded Egypt that its military outposts along the Gaza frontier must not open fire “upon anybody in the demilitarized zone unless attacked or in legitimate defense.” This information came here today in a cable to United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold fromMaj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns Chief of Staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization. Gen. Burns’ cable confirmed previous reports of a resolution adopted by the MAC this week condemning Egypt for a “flagrant” armistice agreement violation committed on May 18.)

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