TEL AVIV (Sep. 20)
Egyptian attempts to transport troops on the Suez Canal in violation of an agreement under which both Israel and Egypt were to refrain from use of the waterway, resulted in two incidents this morning and the damaging of three Egyptian vessels by Israeli guns. Two of the craft were reported sunk.
Both incidents occurred at the southern end of the canal, near Port Tewfiq. The first came when six Egyptian vessels, carrying troops, moved into the waterway. The Israelis opened fire. hitting two of the vessels. The Egyptians made a second attempt, two hours later, to get through. Israeli tanks opened fire again from the east bank, hitting one of the vessels. There were no casualties on the Israeli side from the Egyptians returning fire.
Under a “mutuality” cease-fire arrangement negotiated by Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, the United Nations Secretary-General’s personal representative on the spot, neither side is to use the waterway unless both sides have equal access. The Egyptians have steadfastly refused to agree to Israeli use of the canal and the only shipping permitted is of the vessels supplying foreign freighters which were stranded in the canal during the June war. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said today that the Egyptian attempt to use the canal was a violation of the agreement.