TEL AVIV (Feb. 11)
The Hawk ground-to-air missiles sole to Israel by the United States under a 1962 agreement are about to become operational at one of Israel’s air force bases, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol announced last night.
Addressing a Mapai Party rally at Ashkelon, Mr. Eshkol, who issued a warning against resumption of Egyptian infiltration into Israel, said that a commander and a crew for the special Hawk units have already been named, and that the missiles will soon be deployed in “appropriate” positions. Both the commander and the crew of the units have been trained in the United States. “Emplacement of the Hawks,” said the Premier, “is one more step in our continuing efforts to equip the Israeli defense forces.” In speaking of renewed Egyptian infiltration, he referred to the fact that, only this week, an Israeli army patrol car ran over a mine, resulting in the injury of a number of Israeli soldiers.
The sale of the Hawks to Israel was authorized more than two years ago by the late President Kennedy to help balance Israel’s defenses against Soviet deliveries of heavy bombers to Egypt and Iraq. The number of Hawks acquired by Israel under this arrangement has never been announced.