JERUSALEM (Sep. 12)
An Israeli soldier was wounded this morning in a renewal of shooting across the Suez Canal from Egyptian positions on the west bank of the waterway. The firing was touched off by Egyptian anti-aircraft shooting at an Israeli plane flying over the Israeli-held Sinai territory, near the east bank of the canal.
The 90-minute machinegun duel in the Kantara area ended only after four cease-fire requests by United Nations observers on patrol duty between the Egyptian and Israeli positions on the canal banks. When the Israelis opened small gun fire on the anti-aircraft guns, the Egyptians lowered the weapons for direct trajectory fire at Israeli positions.
Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, United Nations cease-fire observance chief, has reportedly failed in his contacts with the Egyptian Government in efforts to find a solution to the problem of shipping through the Gulf of Suez.
Observers suggested this is the reason behind the general’s postponement of a meeting he had scheduled to discuss the question with the Israel Defense Minister, Gen. Moshe Dayan. They believe Gen. Bull has sent his file on the gulf shipping question to United Nations Headquarters in New York where the General Assembly will deal further with Middle East problems, beginning next Monday.
The dispute regarding shipping in the Gulf of Suez involves Israel’s principle of mutuality. Under that formula, Israel insists, either both Israel and Egypt are to be allowed to send their ships through the gulf — or neither.
ONE ISRAELI WOUNDED ON SYRIAN FRONT; DAMASCUS BUILDING NEW DEFENSES
On the Syrian front, an Israeli tractor driver was wounded yesterday in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, when he stepped off a tractor and detonated a mine, near Tewfiq. Many mines are still embedded in the area and engineers have a full time job of clearing the area.
Israeli officials reported today that the Syrians were nearing completion of a new defense deployment along the cease-fire line, east of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. From Israeli positions near the cease-fire line, Syrian workers were seen today rushing construction of new positions and fortifications, the officials said. They added that the Syrians were giving maximum attention to fortifying approaches to Damascus, the Syrian capital. New positions are being placed on all roads leading to Damascus.
(In Washington, State Department sources said today reports had been received that Nurredin al-Atassi had been deposed as President of Syria and jailed. But it was stressed that there had been no confirmation of such reports. One official said such reports had been coming in for a week but called them purely rumors.)