TEL AVIV (Oct. 22)
Two Israeli soldiers of sergeants rank are facing a court martial for allegedly refusing to assist their fellow soldiers in the defense of an Israeli position in the southern section of the Suez Canal zone that held out for three days before it was captured by Egyptian forces in the opening days of the Yom Kippur War. Both men were subsequently taken prisoner by the Egyptians and one of them was wounded by Egyptian soldiers who fired at the surrendering Israelis.
Six of the 24 defenders of the position were killed and the rest were captured. According to the charges against the sergeants, both of them mechanics, they refused to perform non-combat duties such as carrying and distributing ammunition, relieving tired lookouts and standing guard in shifts. They are charged with persisting in this conduct during the first two days of the Egyptian assault. They began to perform their duties only on the third day. The two soldiers are accused of refusing to carry out orders and shameful conduct under fire.