TEL AVIV (Dec. 16)
Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns, commander of the United Nations Emergency Force, declared at Lydda Airport near here today that he “assumed” that Israeli troops will start withdrawing this week from the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula, where Egyptian gun posts had domineered the entrance to the Gulf of Alaba leading to Israel’s port of Elath.
Gen. Burns voiced his assumption after a conference lasting several hours with Maj. Gen. Moshe Dayan, chief of staff of the Israel Army. The UNEF commander had come to Lydda to discuss with the Israeli army leader the next stage in Israel’s promised withdrawal of armed forces from Egyptian territory.
Gen. Burns confirmed reports that Yugoslav troops under his United Nations command have been ordered to halt at a point 30 miles from the Suez Canal, stopping short of the Gaza strip.
Some of the UNEF troops, who had gone beyond the 30-mile limit have withdrawn, but there was no ill-will between the Yugoslav and Israeli troops Gen. Dayan said. In fact: he told the press, the Yugoslavs had spent a pleasant evening in the company of the Israeli troops before withdrawing, the army men of the two nations mixing together before campfires, singing songs and exchanging banter. Israeli scout planes had flown over the Yugoslav column as it advanced too far, Gen. Dayan conceded, but that was a “mistake” and caused “no ill feeling.”
The Yuogslav column had passed through some minefields planted by the Israelis during the action against Egypt, “but none had been injured,” Gen. Burns said.