Menu JTA Search

Egyptian Claim That Israeli Planes Bombed a Primary School Repudiated by Israel

A military spokesman produced photographs to show newsmen that an Israeli air attack West of the Suez Canal zone today hit only military targets, after Cairo claimed that Israeli Phantom jets bombed a primary school killing 30 children and injuring 46 other persons, 36 of them children. The Israeli spokesman said the Air Force jets attacked military targets in the El Dalahiya sector, about 30 miles west of Kantara on the Suez Canal. He said the targets were military positions surrounded by fortifications and trenches as well as military vehicles including trucks, jeeps, water tankers and trailers, all camouflaged. He said the photographs taken immediately after the attack showed that only military targets were hit.

Cairo radio broadcast an announcement by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior that Israeli Phantoms hit the Bahr al-Bakar school at Al Sharkiyyah west of the central sector of the Suez Canal zone. The school was described as a preliminary school attended by children of both sexes up to the age of 15. The last Israeli air raid which Egypt alleged civilians were hit occurred on March 31 when, according to Cairo, 12 Egyptians were killed and 35 wounded in the northern region of the Nile Delta. Last Feb. 13 Israeli jets bombed a civilian metal factory at Abu Zaabal in which 83 civilians were killed. Israel admitted the bombing and said it was a “tragic error.”

(A United Nations spokesman in New York said early this afternoon, that the U.N. had no confirmation of the reported bombing nor any report from Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of the cease-fire observers corps in the Suez Canal zone who is in the area. In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokesman said “We have seen press reports of the shocking loss of life and injury to children in Sharqia Province in the United Arab Republic as a result of an Israeli air attack. If these reports are confirmed, this tragic incident would be another deplorable and saddening consequence of the continued disregard of the cease-fire resolution of the United Nations Security Council. Once again,” the statement continued, “we appeal to all concerned to adhere scrupulously to the resolution in order to preclude further tragic deaths and injury to innocent civilians.”)

Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem reiterated today that Israel would observe the cease-fire in the Suez Canal zone if the Egyptians stopped shooting from their side. The officials spoke to newsmen following press reports that the Soviet Union has urged Egypt to stop shooting without formally accepting the cease-fire which President Gamal Abdel Nasser renounced a year ago. They had no comment on the reports. A small explosive charge was detonated in East Jerusalem shortly after midnight today causing slight damage to two shops. Police said they had no clues.

NEXT STORY