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Dayan Warns of ‘huge Egyptian Cemetery’ if Israel is Attacked

Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan warned yesterday that if Egypt attacked Israel suddenly and on a broad front, “the whole plain west of Suez will become one huge Egyptian cemetery.” Gen. Dayan’s remarks to members of the Knesset (Parliament) Labor Party faction contained his second stern warning in two days that Egypt would be courting disaster if it renewed hostilities against Israel.

Egypt cannot halt its “aggression” because of pressing internal problems and therefore “a new war may not be as far away as had been thought previously,” he said. But Israel has the equipment for such an eventuality and is ready and its lines are fortified. “We will beat the Egyptians swiftly and decisively,” Gen. Dayan added. He declined to reply to one Knesset member, who questioned him about the possibility of Soviet intervention if a new war breaks out with Egypt. Speaking earlier in the Knesset, Gen. Dayan warned Egypt of a massive military response if there was another artillery attack across the Suez Canal similar to last Saturday’s exchange, initiated by Egyptian forces, in which 15 Israelis were killed and 35 wounded.

(In Washington, the State Department declined comment today on reports that Soviet-made “Katushya” 130mm. rocket batteries manned by Egyptians, with technical assistance from Russian Army officers, were used in Egypt’s artillery attack across the Suez Canal last Saturday. According to the reports, the rockets were responsible for part of the Israeli casualties which were 15 dead and 35 wounded.)

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