Ebon Tells Cabinet Iraq is a Combatant, Unfit to Get Jets from France

Foreign Minister Abba Eban told the Cabinet today that Iraq which will receive Jet fighter-bombers from France, was indeed a combatant in last June’s Six-Day War, disputing France’s contention that only non-combatant nations will get French arms, now that her embargo on the shipment of arms to the Middle East has been lifted.

Mr. Eban, speaking at a closed session, said that, on the first day of the war, an Iraqi plane bombed the coastal town of Netanya and was shot down, and that further Iraqi air incursions over Israel ceased only when an Iraqi airfield near the Iraq-Jordan border was batted by Israeli planes.

(It was announced in Paris earlier this weekend that Iraq will receive 50 Mirage V jet fighter bombers, apparently the same planes that Israel bought and partially paid for before the June war, but which President de Gaulle refused to deliver.)

Mr. Eban noted that units of the Iraqi army moved into Jordan on the eve of the war, were on their way to the West Bank, and were deployed for action when Jordan accepted the United Nations cease fire, thus ending military action on that front. He pointed out further that Iraq was one of the combatant nations approached by U.N. Secretary-General U Than with the U.N. cease-fire proposals, and had agreed to comply with any agreement accepted by Jordan.

Israel’s Ambassador to France, Walter Eytan, is due here tomorrow at the request of Foreign Minister Eban for consultations. Last night, Mr. Eytan was received, at his request, by French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville for a discussion of Franco-Israeli relations and French plans to sell Mirage jets to Iraq.

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