TEL AVIV (May. 18)
The Israel army spokesman said today, in a special communique, that Israel had taken “appropriate measures” during the past 24 hours because of Egyptian troop concentration in Sinai.
The announcement came against a background of indications that Israeli officials remained convinced that there would not be any significant changes in the present calm on Israel’s Egyptian border. However, it was said, that the precautionary measures were taken to avoid any Egyptian surprise move of a “prestige operation.” The nature of the appropriate measures was not disclosed.
Informed sources here said that Egyptian troops have taken up positions in Sinai which in some locations are not far from positions of the United Nations Emergency Force units patrolling the Israeli-Egyptian border. They added that this was a move similar to that in 1960 when Egypt demonstratively posted troops near Israel’s southern border after Israel mounted an action against Syria at Nuqueib, east of Lake Tiberias.
In another development in the tense Middle East situation, Syria was reported today by authoritative sources here to have rejected a proposal that the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization inspect both sides of the Israel-Syrian border for possible troop concentration. The request was made by Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, UNTSO Chief of Staff. Israel approved the request on condition Syria also did so.
Gen. Bull proposed a comprehensive inspection of the demilitarized zone as well as of areas adjacent to the border for heavy military equipment, new positions and troop concentrations. Gen. Bull first made the proposals on April 18 and then repeated them recently because of the area’s growing tension. Observers here said Syria probably refused because of the strong arms and troop concentrations the Syrians have moved to Israel’s border.