TEL AVIV (Aug. 10)
Israel today denied any knowledge about the sinking of a Cypriot ship carrying arms outside of the southern Lebanese port of Tyre yesterday. “We know nothing about it.” an army spokesman said.
Palestinian sources in Lebanon charged yesterday that Israeli frogmen caused the explosion of the ship. “Athens,” outside the entrance of the port at Tyre causing the port to be blocked. However, another source in Lebanon said the ship was sunk by a torpedo. A report from Cyprus said that the Athens was sunk by the same elements responsible for the sinking of another arms ship near Sidon last week.
Palestinians and Moslem leftists reacting to the reports from Israel that its navy patrols have been intensified near Sidon and Tyre are blaming Israel for the sinking of the ships. But the Syrians and Lebanese Christians have also been conducting a siege of these ports to prevent the Palestinian and Lebanese Moslem forces from receiving arms.
However, arms have been getting through and the Christians recently claimed that a Libyan ship unloaded a number of dismantled Mirage fighters which were reassembled on improvised airstrips built in Moslem-held territory in south Lebanon. The sinking of the ships at Tyre and Sidon will no doubt undermine the supply route for the Palestinian-Moslem forces.
TOBACCO TRADING TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED
Meanwhile, the tobacco trade along Israel’s border with Lebanon has been temporarily suspended. While there is a rumor that Libya has offered to buy the tobacco from the south Lebanese growers at a higher price than the Israelis pay, the suspension is actually due to the lack of a final decision on the price that Israel’s Dubek Cigarette Co. will pay for the tobacco.
Otherwise, the “good fence” along the Israeli-Lebanon border is busy with south Lebanese villagers seeking medical treatment and the meetings of families from Lebanese and Israeli Arab communities.