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Strengthened Israel Navy to Open New Base Tomorrow at Ashdod

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The Israel Navy, which has been strengthened since the Six-Day War, will open a new base Tuesday at the southern port of Ashdod on the Mediterranean. Adm. Shlomo Erel, Navy Commander, also reported that two merchant ships purchased by Israel had been refitted as warships. The ships, the Bat Galim and Bat Yam, sailed around South Africa and are now patrolling the Red Sea.

Since the 1967 war, Adm. Erel reported, the main Navy mission has been to patrol the southern Mediterranean up to the approaches to the Egyptian Port Said to prevent infiltration by sea. Patrols are also continuing along the northern Sinai shores where the destroyer Eilat was sunk by Soviet-made Styx missiles from Egyptian craft. Israeli ships on the Red Sea are delivering supplies to Israeli units on the shores of the Sinai peninsula.

Adm. Erel also reported that Eilat was not the only Israeli naval base in that area. He said there was another base near Sharm el Sheikh, in the Strait of Tiran, at the mouth of the Aqaba Gulf. The Israeli public will view the navy ships at Haifa, Eilat and Ashdod Tuesday, designated Navy Day.

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