Syrians Hamper Israeli Aid to Wounded Austrian Soldier

The Syrians refused today to grant permission for an Israeli helicopter to land in the buffer zone and pick up an injured Austrian soldier who needed urgent hospitalization. The soldier had to be driven by car to the Israeli side where he was picked up by a copter with a medical crew.

An army communique said that the United Nations Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) had informed the Israeli liaison officer this morning that a Syrian copter was summoned by the UN to enter the buffer zone near the Mt. Hermon peak, now in the hands of UN forces, to evacuate an Austrian soldier injured by a mine. Consent was given immediately.

But two-and-a-half hours later UN officers informed the Israelis that the Syrian copter had crashed and that a second copter would try to reach the spot and evacuate the Injured soldier. At the same time UN officers asked Israel to have a copter stand by in case the second Syrian copter also failed to reach the spot. This request was granted and some minutes later the UN asked Israel to send the helicopter to the position where the Austrian would be waiting.

Israel agreed but within minutes the UN called again saying the Syrians were objecting to the Israeli copter landing. The Israeli liaison officer then suggested that the soldier be driven to the border of the buffer zone where he was picked up and taken to Safad Hospital.

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