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Snags, Misunderstandings Among Israelis Seeking to Visit Sinai

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Bureaucratic snags and misunderstandings created some confusion among Israelis interested in visiting Sinai on its first day under full Egyptian control. The Egyptian Consul at Eilat said Israeli visitors could obtain visas at the border crosspoint at Taba just south of the town.

But according to Voice of Israel Radio, Egyptian officials at Taba would admit no Israelis into Sinai because they have not received the proper visa stamps from Cairo. The Israeli and Egyptian interior ministries have not as yet declared the Taba border crossing officially open. Two other border crosspoints, at Rafah and Nitana, were not opened yesterday as scheduled.

An Egyptian patrol in northern Sinai came upon a group of Israelis who crossed the border inadvertently. When the Israelis failed to heed orders to halt, the Egyptians fired into the air. The incident was resolved through the intervention of an Israeli liaison officer.

Egypt, meanwhile, reportedly rejected an Israeli request to continue operating a natural gas well in the Yamit region near the former settlement of Sadot. Gas production ceased at noon yesterday and the equipment was dismantled before the well was handed over to the Egyptians. Although the Israeli operators offered to rent the field, they were told that was not possible under Egyptian law.

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