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First Phase of Withdrawal Begins

The Israeli and Egyptian army chiefs of staff met here today as Israeli forces began the first phase of their withdrawal from the west bank of the Suez Canal. Gen. David Elazar, of Israel, and his Egyptian counterpart, Gen. Mohammed Gemassy, reportedly summed up the details of the withdrawal operation worked out at a series of daily meetings between their respective aides this week. Other Egyptian and Israeli officers met separately here today on the matter of retrieving Israeli war dead from Egyptian-held areas.

The initial Israeli pullback from the southern sector of the west bank salient was officially scheduled to start tomorrow and to end Sunday. But advance units have already started to move out and convoys of trucks and cars are hauling Israeli equipment to the east bank. Israeli naval units are assisting in the evacuation from the Israel-held ports of Ataka and Abadiyeh on the Gulf of Suez.

Israeli soldiers waiting for their units to move out, took the opportunity for last minute sight-seeing and picture-taking on African soil. Six wounded Egyptian soldiers were released today from the Beer Yaacob Hospital and returned to Egypt.

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