Both Fronts Are Quiet

The first night of the second Mideast cease-fire passed quietly on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts, save for occasional salvoes of artillery fire. Israeli forces maintained the cease-fire and while Syria’s acceptance of it was somewhat uncertain, Israeli forces were ordered to hold their fire as long as the Syrians did the same.

Three UN observer teams reached the Israeli lines on the road to Damascus today and one team established an observation post on Mt. Hermon. Other posts were set up at Tel Shams on the main Damascus road and a third established itself more to the south. Terrorist activities declined significantly and only one incident of shelling was reported last night. There were no casualties or damage.

On the Egyptian front some relaxation of tension was noticeable but Israeli soldiers continued to dig fox holes along the west bank salient and convoys of trucks continued to cross the canal in a non-stop movement of supplies.

Otherwise the scene is peaceful in the “green belt” along the west shores of the Suez Canal which contrasts sharply with the parched rock and sand of the east bank. This is a region of cases fringed by date palms, irrigation canals, orchards, gardens and tall grass.

Israeli army vehicles are everywhere–tanks half tracks, self-propelled artillery, civilian vehicles recruited for war and heavy engineering equipment such as bulldozers, tractors and mobile cranes. Army work crews are paving the dirt roads and are broadening Israel’s access routes to the west bank of the canal. (By Yitzhak Shargil.)

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