TEL AVIV (Jul. 16)
Reports arriving here from Cyprus today reflected the continuing confusion following the coup yesterday but confirmed that the estimated 250 Israeli tourists now on the island as well as personnel of the Israel Embassy in Nicosia and representatives of Israeli companies on the island were well.
Nicosia airport has been closed since the start of the coup and El Al flights to Nicosia today were cancelled. The shutdown of the Nicosia airport caused some concern among Israeli aviation officials because Nicosia airport had coordinated Israeli flights to Mideast countries whose airports do not have contacts with Israeli airports. The Nicosia control tower has funnelled Israeli flights to various Mideast countries.
An Israeli freighter, Avocado Kor, in port to load grapes for Britain, found the port virtually deserted yesterday. ‘Damy Lemberg, the ship’s captain, tried to get in touch with port authorities without success and decided to sail. Two officers of the ship, their wives and a child were on shore.
Lemberg left their passports with another ship in the port. Shortly afterwards, the ship received a cable that the five had reached Limasol port. The Israeli ship sent a motorboat to the port and picked up the five, bringing them back to the ship which was on the high seas.
ISRAELI OFFICIALS MUM ON COUP
The Israeli Embassy in Nicosia, which is in frequent contact with Jerusalem, has confirmed that no Israeli tourists or holiday vacationers were hurt in the disturbances arising from the coup. Officials in Jerusalem were maintaining silence on the developments, refusing to comment until the situation is clarified. The deposed President, Archbishop Makarios, had in recent years, drifted toward the Arabs but at the same time had been careful to maintain full and correct diplomatic relations with Israel.
Nikos Giorgiades Sampson, who was sworn in as President by the junta which seized power, spent several years in Egypt. His newspaper, “Mahi” (Combat), used to publish extreme anti-Israel articles but recently articles on the Arab-Israeli conflict have been somewhat more balanced, officials reported here.
Observers here suggested that the fact that Makarios is still alive makes the coup incomplete and its results in doubt. Makarios has great influence on the Cypriots and can rally resistance to the Greek-inspired national guard and other backers of union with Greece.