LONDON (Feb. 5)
The Soviet Union is supplying new electronic air defense equipment to Egypt but not offensive weapons such as the super sophisticated MIG-23 warplanes, diplomatic sources said here today. According to the sources, the equipment going to Egypt is the same as Moscow supplied to Communist forces in Vietnam. It will replace radar installations and SAM ground-to-air missiles that have been destroyed or captured by Israel. The sources said the shipments, already being airlifted to Cairo, constitute Moscow’s response to Egypt’s urgent call for help against continuing Israeli air assaults. Some sources said that Russians might have to operate the new defenses, at least until Egyptian technicians can be trained.
Reports from Cairo today said Egyptian authorities were organizing citizens’ war committees to cope with bomb damage, civilian casualties and refugees in the event of major Israeli air attacks on population centers. The program laid down by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, was reportedly approved by the Arab Socialist Union, Egypt’s only political party. The committees will be formed in the big cities, Cairo and Alexandria, and in the smallest hamlets of the Nile delta and the Upper Nile Valley, the reports said. Their purpose is to bypass inefficient bureaucratic structures and mobilize the Egyptian public for civil defense and damage repair duties. The committees will be voluntary and run along para-military lines. Citizens will be assigned to guard duties, fire-fighting, first aid, road repairs and communications.