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Paris Daily Says France Will Lift Embargo on Arms to Middle East

The daily newspaper Paris Presse, declared today that the French embargo on arms to Israel, imposed during the June war, would be lifted soon. French political sources expressed skepticism about the report and Israeli sources declined immediate comment.

France was, prior to June, Israel’s major aircraft and missile supplier. The Israeli Air Force is built on French equipment and the French-built Mirage IV jet fighter is the backbone of the Israeli aerial defense. Estimates of Israeli aircraft losses in the six-day war have gone as high as one-fifth of its air-strength.

Replacement of its battle and attrition losses is essential to the Israeli Air Force in view of the heavy resupply by the Soviet Union of late-model fighter and bomber aircraft to Egypt. The Soviet Union is reported to have made good almost half of Egypt’s aircraft losses in the relatively short period since the cessation of hostilities.