JERUSALEM (Aug. 28)
The Israel Cabinet discussed today ways and means of dealing with the latest outbreak of hostility along the Gaza border following the Egyptian breaking off of negotiations for abatement of tension along the Gaza strip frontier. While the Cabinet was meeting, it was reported in Tel Aviv that two more Israel soldiers had been killed and three seriously wounded when two military vehicles were mined inside Israel near the settlement of Beeri, scene of several other incidents and one pitched battle earlier this week-end.
An emergency meeting of the Israel-Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission was scheduled for tomorrow following completion of a United Nations investigation of several of the half-dozen incidents this week-end and after discovery of ten landmines and a quantity of infiltrates made their escape after murdering a Jewish farmer, Shalom Wachtel, Friday. Late today, after at least three different incidents, the Egyptians asked for a cease-fire along the entire Gaza line.
Beside the mining of the two Israel vehicles today, an Egyptian military post near Kissufim opened fire on an Israel truck patrolling the armistice demarcation line. Earlier, the Egyptians precipitated an artillery duel near Beeri when they opened up with 81 and 120 millimeter guns, wounding two Israel soldiers. Israel artillery replied, silencing the Egyptian batteries. Last night, two Israel soldiers were wounded and a well destroyed by Egyptian infiltrates in the vicinity of Migdal Askelon.
Meanwhile, the Israel Foreign Ministry issued a statement charging Egypt with bad faith and insincerity in breaking off the Egyptian-Israel talks aimed at pacification of the Gaza area, and with distortion of the facts in connection with the Mefalsim incident cited by Egypt as her reason for ending the talks. The Foreign Ministry statement declared that “Egypt’s use of this pretext serves as further proof of the insincerity which, from the beginning, characterized its attitude toward the negotiations.”