Israel Fears Gromyko May Promise Missile-carrying Ships to Egypt

The arrival today in Cairo of Soviet Foreign Minister Andre Gromyko for a series of consultations with Egyptian President Nasser attracted attention in Israel because of persistent rumors that the discussions would include the subject of delivery of Soviet-built missile-carrying destroyers to the Egyptian fleet.

Israeli authorities were unable to confirm definitely that the topic was on the agenda for the Gromyko-Nasser talks. Until now the Soviets have refused to consider provision to Egypt of any such destroyer-based missile capacity.

Israel’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, indicated recently that Egypt might be getting such missile-carrying ships but the reports have not been confirmed. Provision of such missile-armed ships would relieve Egypt of a stalemate in its own efforts to create such naval weapons systems.

It was noted here that Russian arming of Egypt with other types of missiles is well advanced. Eight Komar motorboats carrying two missiles of about 16 miles range have been supplied to Egypt and are believed to be operational. Recently ten of the most modern motorboats, each carrying four missiles, have been supplied to Egypt. It has now been indicated that Russia may send Egypt two Krupney or Kildin light cruisers with launching units for 130-mile range missiles fitted at both ends of the vessels.

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