TEL AVIV (Dec. 6)
Egypt is making a major effort to gather intelligence on the Israeli side of the Suez Canal, officials reported here today. The latest attempt was the landing of a small reconnaissance party on the east bank of the waterway Friday night, the first such landing since the cease-fire went into effect last Aug. 7. One Egyptian was killed when an Israeli patrol intercepted and drove off the landing party. A military spokesman said equipment found on the dead body included a new transmitter and other communications devices which indicated that the Egyptians were on an intelligence gathering mission. The landing occurred between the Great Bitter Lake and the southern entrance of the canal. Israel has filed a protest with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) which sent today observers to the site of the encounter. Egypt termed the Israeli report “utterly fabricated” and said the dead man was a civilian whom the Israelis “murdered.” Egyptian officials have approached the Red Cross for return of the body. Israelis said the latest incident was part of an emerging pattern of Egyptian spying to find out what the Israelis are doing in the occupied Sinai peninsula.
Two weeks ago, a number of Egyptian planes over-flew Israeli positions on the east bank of the canal. Just a week ago, an Israeli Navy patrol boat sank an Egyptian motorboat believed to have been on an intelligence-gathering mission in Israel-held waters in the Gulf of Suez. Israel complained to UNTSO again on Friday that the Egyptians have advanced a number of SAM-2 missile positions in the Suez cease-fire zone in violation of the truce. It was Israel’s second complaint of missile movements since the cease-fire was extended for another 90 days on Nov. 5. The two complaints appeared to contradict earlier assertions by military and Foreign Ministry spokesmen that the military standstill provisions of the Aug. 7 cease-fire agreement did not apply to the cease-fire extension. According to these sources, Israel was not technically extending the Aug. 7 cease-fire but was reverting to the cease-fire agreement of June, 1967 which ended the Six-Day War and which contained no standstill provisions. But according to Simcha Dinitz, political advisor to the Premier, Mrs. Golda Meir now regards the Aug. 7 cease-fire and its Nov. 5 extension to be “superimposed” on the 1967 cease-fire.