JERUSALEM (Jan. 5)
Israeli officials “take seriously” President Anwar Sadat’s threats of renewed Egyptian warfare against Israel, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned-today from reliable sources. The sources referred to Sadat’s speech yesterday to 15,000 Egyptian farmers in the Nile delta village of Tanta which kicked off a nation-wide campaign to rally the Egyptian masses for possible war when the current cease-fire expires on Feb. 5. Sadat claimed that Egypt was now strong enough to do battle with Israel. “We will go into this war whatever the cost, in defense of our honor, and the enemy will bear the cost,” he said. The Israeli sources said the bellicosity of Sadat’s speech and his references to electronic warfare indicated that he expects strong Soviet backing should fighting resume in the Suez Canal zone. But they also noted Sadat’s statement, that the next six months will be-decisive, left the door open for continuation of the cease-fire.
Sadat made the first public disclosure by an Egyptian leader that Soviet troops were manning missile sites in the canal zone. He also disclosed that six of them were killed in an Israeli air raid on a missile base at Dashur 20 miles south of Cairo last year. He did not say when the raid occurred. Cairo radio announced such a raid last Feb. 17. Israeli deep penetration raids over Egypt were halted last March. Sadat’s remarks did not make it clear whether Russians still were manning missile sites in Egypt. He said Egypt would do all that was possible to avoid a hew war after the cease-fire expires. “We have no objection to talking peace. But the way the other side looks at it, the Arab nation was defeated and part of it was occupied and it must pay the price of this defeat,” he said. “We will not behave like a conquered nation because we are not yet finished,” he declared. He told the crowd that Israel was spreading propaganda that the Egyptian people were war weary. “Are you fed up?” he asked the farmers. They responded, “No, no. We will fight.” Referring to Soviet troops in Egypt, Sadat said that President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill had asked Stalin for help against Hitler in World War II. “This was no shame. But when we ask the Russians to help defend our country it becomes taboo. What is good for them is bad for us.”