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Congressmen See New Threat to Israel’s Security in Egypt-based Soviet Bombers

Rep. J. Herbert Burke, Florida Rep., charged in the House today that the USSR has taken “another giant step to command military control of the Middle East and Mediterranean by basing a squadron of TU-16 jet bombers, complete with ground crews and pilots, in Egypt.” He said the TU-16 was equivalent to the American B-52 giant bomber and was equipped with the latest weaponry. He said it was significant that the Russian planes were based in Egypt because it marked “the first time the Soviet Union has supplied pilots and complete crews along with their military planes to countries outside the Soviet bloc.”

Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Dem., said that the Russians want Israel “to understand that Russian air power is available to Egypt should the USSR decide to take the Arab side in the renewal of the Mideast conflict.” Citing the French refusal to honor arms sale contracts with Israel, Rep. Farbstein said the United States must make available adequate jets to Israel to defend herself in view of the Arab refusal to make peace.