TEL AVIV (Sep. 7)
There has been no change in the number of Soviet-made SAM ground-to-air missile sites in the vicinity of the west bank of the Suez Canal, Israeli sources reported today. Egyptian troops are continuing with routine work on fortifications and road construction on their side of the waterway, the most notable being paved ramps to the water’s edge suggesting preparations for amphibious operations across the canal. A year ago, following the cease-fire which went into effect on Aug. 7, 1970, Israel accused Egypt of moving SAM missile launchers into the canal zone in violation of the stand-still provisions of the cease-fire. The Egyptians claimed they introduced no new missile sites but shifted around existing ones. According to Israeli sources there are 40-50 SAM missile batteries in the zone today and a similar number further back, many of them manned by Soviet personnel.
Israeli sources also confirmed that sophisticated Soviet aircraft like the new MIG-23 interceptors and the Sukhoi-11 fighter-bombers are flying over Egypt but none have been observed so far in the area close to the canal. During the week that ended last Sunday, there were four over-flights by Egyptian jets of Israeli positions on the canal’s east bank. Protests were lodged with the United Nations truce supervision organization. Otherwise the canal front has been quiet. In two instances the Egyptians broadcast to Israeli troops over loud-speakers. One program consisted of music. The other was an obvious propaganda thrust playing up the gap between the Ashkenazic (Western) and Sephardic (Oriental) communities in Israel.