JERUSALEM (Mar. 2)
The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment today on the French detention of a B-17 bomber which was forced to land at Bone, Algeria, Friday, by French fighters. The plane, which does not belong to Israel, was en route from Israel to a Latin American country.
It was revealed in aviation circles here today that the four engine Flying Fortress, together with its cargo of mortars, bazookas and submachine guns, had been sold to the Latin American country. The plane left Israel with a filed flight plan which called for stopovers at Algiers and Dakar and then a flight across the Atlantic to South America.
Bad weather forced the craft down at Brindizi, Italy, and later engine trouble caused it to land at Bone. Its navigator was identified as an Israeli citizen named Ruachweger. A special plane carrying mechanics and spare parts left Israel for Bone today to repair the B-17 so that it continue its flight.
Authoritative circles here pointed out that Israel sold arms surpluses to friendly nations, if asked. They expressed the hope that even if the French authorities confiscate the arms cargo–originally thought by the French to be destined for Algerian rebels–they would soon return them.
(In Paris today, official sources said the B-17 would be permitted to leave Bone, but without its cargo of arms. The Associated Press reported that the plane carried no wing markings, and had a cargo of 292 bazookas, four mortars and 100 submachine guns. It added that the plane had been authorized to continue its journey to Venezuela whenever the ship was repaired.)