JERUSALEM (Aug. 22)
The relative relaxation of the Egyptian-Israel tension in the Gaza area was suddenly broken today by an unprovoked Egyptian attack on an Israeli patrol, leading to serious border clashes. The Israel Government complained to the Mixed Armistice Commission and requested an immediate meeting of the commission.
The attack on the Israel patrol took place in the Mefalsim area, in Israel territory. The Israelis repulsed the Egyptians and captured one of their military posts in the Gaza strip which they held for several hours. They evacuated the post when United Nations observers arrived on the scene. It was learned that the patrol was of open land when attacked and was forced in the circumstances which developed from the attack, to sweep in and take the Egyptian post. There were no casualties reported on the Israel side.
Later, an Israel military spokesman announced that Egyptian posts along the Gaza strip shelled the settlement of Nachal Oz this afternoon. The Egyptians, using 80 and 120 mm. mortars scored a number of hits in settlement areas and a number of houses sustained damage. No casualties were reported by the Israelis.
(In Cairo it was officially announced that one Egyptian officer was killed and four soldiers wounded in the clash in the Gaza strip. An Egyptian communique said an Israel patrol attacked an Egyptian post, but made no mention of the capture of the post or the cause of the attack.)
A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry said late today that “the sudden large scale and persistent attacks” by the Egyptians can only be explained as an Egyptian attempt to sabotage the Israel-Egyptian talks which have been going on for some time. He emphasized that the attacks have broken out just when efforts were renewed to break the deadlock which the talks reached.