TEL AVIV (Oct. 28)
The first units of a United Nations food supply convoy for the encircled Egyptian Third Army passed through Israeli lines today after elements of the Third Army opened fire on the very route over which the supplies were to come. Lt. Gen. Haim Barlev warned Egyptian Gen. Bashir Sharif this afternoon that any further shooting by the Egyptians would prejudice the passage of supplies.
In other developments today, Egyptian forces at Ismailia fired SAM missiles at an Israeli plane flying over the Suez Canal. Two hundred Finnish soldiers, a unit of the United Nations Emergency Force, entered Suez town today after having been turned back twice by Israeli forces holding the approaches to the town. One Israeli soldier was killed and two were wounded when their vehicle struck a mine on a road near the Lebanese border. Israel lodged complaints with the UN truce observers over the Egyptian shooting incidents today. But the food convoy, agreed-to-by Israeli Gen. Aharon Yariv at his post-midnight meeting with Egyptian officers, was allowed passage. Barlev, former Chief of Staff who is now on active military duty on the Egyptian front, was at the convoy’s starting point in the Israel-held sector of the west bank of the canal today.
The supply vehicles, driven by UN personnel are inspected by Israeli soldiers before being allowed to proceed. Barlev has made it clear that no ambulances will be permitted. The evacuation of some 2000 wounded Egyptian soldiers of the Third Army has been held up until Egypt agrees to exchange wounded Israeli soldiers in its hands. The 100-vehicle UN convoy proved difficult to assemble, mainly because of the shortage of drivers. It was decided that the convoy would be split into units of 10 trucks each. Three Austrian officers, members of the UN Emergency Force, are in charge of the convoy. They conferred with Barlev today after which he authorized the convoy to begin. It was uncertain how the supply trucks would cross to the east bank of the Suez Canal where the Third Army is located. There are no bridges and apparently no rafts. Meanwhile another convoy of 12 trucks entered the city of Suez with medical supplies and blood plasma for the civilian population reported to number about 15,000.