LONDON (Jan. 15)
Arab newspapers continued today to allege heavy Israeli troop build-ups along the cease-fire lines and predicted that an Israeli attack was imminent. President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt conferred with the Lebanese and Jordanian ambassadors on the purported Israeli build-up. The semi-official Cairo newspaper Al Ahram claimed that Israel rushed five brigades to its cease-fire line with Jordan in the last few days and was also reinforcing its troops along the Suez Canal, it was reported here.
According to Al Ahram, the Israelis were arresting Bedcuin tribesmen in the Sinai Peninsula and were clearing civilians out of Sinai towns from Kantara to El Arish. (Israel announced last week that it had evacuated the remaining civilians from Kantara to El Arish for their own safety because Egypt refused to agree to their repatriation. Kantara has been hit frequently by shells during artillery duels.)
(Prime Minister Levi Eshkol said in the Knesset (Parliament) in Jerusalem yesterday that the Arab reports of Israeli troop build-ups were a dangerous “concoction” and likened them to the false rumors of May, 1967 which prompted Egypt to concentrate its forces in Sinai “and dragged the entire region into the abyss of war.” A statement issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry several hours before Mr. Eshkol addressed the Knesset called Arab reports that Israel was planning to attack Lebanon and Jordan “utterly groundless.” Impartial observers in Jerusalem agreed that there was no evidence of an impending Israeli attack. Israeli sources said such a move was out of the question, militarily and politically.)
(In Cairo, Egyptian Government spokesman Dr. Mohammed H. el-Zayyat told a press conference that President Nasser would be obliged to take some action if Israel developed a nuclear bomb. He did not specify what kind of action, however. Israel last week denied reports that it had developed or was developing a nuclear bomb.)