JERUSALEM (Mar. 19)
The government denied today two claims by Southern Yemen that Israel has established a presence on the Ethiopian coast and on several islands in the Red Sea which command the shipping lanes to and from the Indian Ocean. The Southern Yemeni Embassy in Beirut claimed Saturday that Israel has leased Ras (Cape) Sintlan from Ethiopia where it was allegedly building an air and naval base some 30 kilometers from the Yemeni island of Perim that controls the southern entrance to the Red Sea.
Perim was the base for a rocket attack on the Israel-bound tanker Coral Sea in June, 1971. The Southern Yemeni Embassy in Baghdad claimed yesterday that Israeli forces had occupied five islands in the Straits of Bab el Mandab. The islands were not identified but the Beirut Embassy indicated that they included Zuqar island and the Hanish group. A similar report that appeared in Time magazine a week ago, was denied by Israeli authorities at the time.
According to the Yemeni Embassy in Beirut, the islands belong the Southern Yemen but were turned over to Ethiopia by the British before the Aden Protectorate, which became Southern Yemen achieved independence in Nov., 1967. The Embassy charged that Israel was coordinating its “serious penetration” of the Red Sea with the United States, and that Israel wanted to control navigation in the area.