JERUSALEM (Apr. 5)
The Egyptian Army made seven attempts today to penetrate Israel border settlements in the Gaza strip and heavily shelled six settlements–with 120-millimeter cannon. This action marked the second successive day of Egyptian attacks. The Israelis retaliated with heavy artillery fire and at the same time lodged a protest with Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns, United Nations truce chief.
(At United Nations headquarters, Egyptian delegate Dr. Omar Loutfi reported that 42 Egyptians were killed and 103 wounded by Israeli fire during attacks on the cities of Gaza, Deir el Balach, Abasan and Khoza, in the Gaza strip. He filed a complaint with Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., president of the UN Security Council, but did not ask for a Council session to deal with his complaint. He said that all but seven of the casualties were civilians.)
Gen. Burns immediately called for a cease-fire which became effective after a six-hour battle. He emphasized that it is “of utmost importance that the situation along the demarcation line surrounding the Gaza strip be brought under control immediately and all forms of firing across the demarcation line stopped.” Six Israeli settlements were shelled by the Egyptians with heavy mortars including Nirim, Kissufim, Ein Haslosha and Nachal-Oz. Four Israeli soldiers and two civilians were wounded.
SHARETT MEETS WITH U. N. TRUCE CHIEF; PROTESTS EGYPTIAN ATTACKS
In an urgent letter to Gen. Burns, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett stressed the “murderous character” of Egyptian aggression along the Gaza border and demanded that the UN Truce Supervision Organization take firm action to halt the Egyptian attacks.
Mr. Sharett also summoned Gen. Burns to a meeting during which he placed responsibility for the attacks on the Egyptian authorities who have stubbornly refused to issue a cease-fire to their troops along the Gaza strip, as demanded by the UN. Mr. Sharett underlined the grave consequences which could flow from the Egyptian attacks, and declared that Israel reserves its full freedom of action in self-defense. Gen. Burns, thereupon, set a midnight deadline for the cease-fire.
Col. Bayard, American chairman of the Israel-Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission, reported that Israeli guns shelled Gaza in retaliation for earlier attacks on frontier settlements opposite the strip.