TEL AVIV (Aug. 20)
The administration attache at the Israel Embassy in Cairo was shot to death there this morning, and his wife and the wife of another Embassy diplomat were injured. The slain diplomat was identified as Albert Atrakchi, 30. The injured women were his wife Ilana, 24, and Mazal Menache.
A physician was being flown from Israel to the Egyptian capital this evening to help treat the women, who may be brought back to Israel together with the body of the slain diplomat by an El Al plane tonight.
DIFFERING VERSIONS OF THE ATTACK
Various reports from Cairo gave differring versions of the attack. The Israelis were driving from their home in the Mahdi suburb of Cairo to the Embassy when they were attacked.
According to one version, a red Fiat car with three men in it had been following the diplomat’s car. As the Fiat pulled up alongside the Israeli’s car there was a burst of gunfire from the Fiat, which then sped away from the scene. Seventeen bullets were later found inside the car and a number of others on the street. Bloodstains were splattered on the front and back seats of the car and windows were smashed.
According to another version, an Arab approached the car and fired at the Israeli driver from a short distance.
The attache was killed instantly.
Diplomats who have served at the Israel Embassy say the Egyptians take exceptional precautions to ensure the safety of the Israelis there.
SORROW AND SHOCK EXPRESSED
Muhamed Basyouni, the Egyptian charge d’ affaires in Tel Aviv, this afternoon handed to Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir a note from the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ismet Abdel Maguid, expressing his sorrow and condolences on the death of the Israeli diplomat and the attack on the Israeli women.
Prime Minister Shimon Peres expressed his shock at the incident and said he was sure the Egyptians would do everything to find the attackers. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem expressed appreciation at the measures being taken by the Egyptians to track down the assailants.
The Egyptian government denounced the attack and pledged to do all it can “with regard to this heinous assassination.” According to reports from Cairo, police had a witness who said he remembered the license plate on the gunmen’s car. Security police were deployed in the area near the shooting, all armed with automatic weapons. Police security also was tightened at the Cairo Airport and checks were being made at all exit points from the country.
The identity of the assailant was not immediately known, and Arab and Egyptian affairs experts say it could have been a member of any of a number of Arab or Moslem organizations, including Palestinians and rightwing Moslem fundamentalists, or groups interested in sabotaging the peace process.