TEL AVIV (May. 29)
Three Israeli landing craft passed through the Suez Canal today en route from Eilat to Ashdod The vessels, painted a sparkling white and flying flags from stem to stern are the first units of the Israel Navy ever to use the waterway. They received a warm reception from the Egyptians.
The Egyptian canal pilot who boarded at Port Suez, at the southern entrance to the canal, presented a bouquet of flowers to the Israeli commander aboard the flagship, Ahziv. The other landing craft are the Ashkelon and Ashdod they were given the place of honor at the head of a 40 -ship northbound convoy and as they moved slowly through the canal, the Israeli sailors on deck in their summer white uniforms got rousing cheers from the throngs a long the canal banks. Although the ships were forced to anchor in the Bitter Lakes while a southbound convoy passed, they were due at Port Said on the Mediterranean at midnight tonight and will dock at Ashdod tomorrow.