Israeli Personnel Return from Uganda

About 100 members of the Israeli military mission to Uganda and their families arrived here yesterday via Kenya virtually completing the evacuation of Israeli personnel from the East African country. About 10 members of the military mission were still in Kampala but are expected to return home today.

President Idi Amin of Uganda had asked for the withdrawal of the Israeli military mission, charging that it constituted a fifth column. While Amin wanted a gradual withdrawal, the Israel government decided to pull out its personnel en masse. There is still an Israeli diplomatic mission and several hundred Israeli civilian employes in Uganda.

The Israelis arriving home today said their cameras and film had been confiscated without explanation by Ugandan police at the airport before their departure. Meanwhile, Israel has discontinued the production of about 600 military command cars that Amin ordered when he visited Israel several months ago. About 24 of the cars were delivered to Uganda but the Israeli representative who accompanied them was ordered out of that country soon after he registered at his hotel. Production of the cars was cancelled following his expulsion.

It was still unclear today whether diplomatic relations would continue between Israel and Uganda. Amin has demanded that Israel reduce its Embassy staff to no more than four persons. Official comment in government circles here has been restrained evidently to avoid worsening the breach. Israel’s Chief of Staff, Gen. David Elazar, today praised the job done by the military mission to Uganda. He called Amin’s charge that the Israeli personnel was engaged in espionage “baseless slander.”

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