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Israel Troops Penetrate Egypt; Reported Halfway to Suez Canal

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Israeli troops penetrated into Egyptian territory today and raided Egyptian “commando bases” near a road junction leading toward the Suez Canal. By 10:30 P.M. they were 62 miles from the Canal.

“This operation,” an Israeli Army communique said, “was necessitated by continuous Egyptian military attacks on citizens and on Israel land and sea communications, the purpose of which was to cause destruction and deprive the people of Israel of the possibility of a peaceful existence.”

The communique said the Egyptian commando bases are in the vicinity of Kuntilla and Ras-el-Naqueb area. Kuntilla is about seven miles inside the Egyptian border west of the Negev, and about 110 miles from the Port of Suez. Ras-el-Naqueb is also within Egyptian territory, some ten miles northwest of the Port of Eilath on the Gulf of Aquaba.

The communique said that after attacking these two points, the Israeli troops “have taken up positions west of the Nachal road junction towards the Suez Canal.” This road junction is on the highway leading from Kuntilla across the Sinai desert to Port Suez, southern junction of the Suez Canal. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said in the evening that Israel has occupied positions at Nekhal, about 100 kilometers from Suez.

(Reuter’s quoted an Israel Army spokesman as stating in Tel Aviv that Israel troops had penetrated more than 60 miles into Egypt and were over halfway to the Suez Canal and bypassing points of heavy resistance. The same report said that military experts consider the seizure of Ras el Naqueb would free Elath from the Egyptian blockade of the Gulf of Elath.)

EGYPTIAN COMMANDOS CAPTURED; EGYPTIAN WARSHIPS LEAVE FOR ISRAEL

The reprisal raid by Israel came after three Egyptian commando units entered Israel territory last night. The units were captured inside Israel near the Gaza strip border. The third unit escaped, although one of its members was believed wounded in an exchange of fire. The leader of one of the captured gangs confessed that they had been sent into Israel to commit sabotage and attack Israelis.

Israeli authorities said that some five or six Egyptian warships, headed by two destroyers, left their base at Alexandria early this morning and were moving in the direction of Israel. The authorities also announced that a water pumping station was blown up today near the Gaza strip, presumably by a time bomb placed by Egyptian infiltrators.

(In-United Nations circles the opinion prevailed that the Israeli-reprisal raid was not a “war.” At the same time, it was learned at the United Nations that Egypt has lodged a complaint against Israel’s raid with the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission)

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