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Israeli Probe Says Command Was Not to Blame for the Elath Disaster

Deputy Chief of Staff Chaim Bar-Lev announced here that his official investigation of the sinking of the Israeli destroyer Elath by Egyptian missile craft in international waters off Sinai, on October 21, indicates that “no one in a command position” was to blame. General Bar-Lev, who served as a one-man investigating committee into the disaster, stressed, however, that the Elath’s patrol should have been placed on a combat rather than a “routine” basis.

Israeli newspapers, and some of their readers, greeted the findings with skepticism today. Several editorials confessed “perplexity” over the verdict. Letters to the editors of various newspapers have raised the question of why no action was taken in the two hours that elapsed from the time the Elath was crippled by the first missile barrage and the second attack that sank her in a few minutes.