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Security Council Slates Second Session Today on Israeli, Egyptian Complaints

November 4, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Security Council is scheduled to meet tomorrow afternoon for a second session stemming from Egyptian and Israeli charges. The 15 member Council was called into “urgent” session Friday on complaints filed by both nations. Egyptian Ambassador Awad el-Kony demanded that the Council impose sanctions on Israel, indicating that “verbal condemnations were no longer enough,” for its commando raid 140 miles into Egypt on Thursday. Israel’s Ambassador Yosef Tekoah based his call for the meeting on a series of Egyptian artillery attacks, mine laying and commando activities across the Suez Canal dating from Aug. 26, the most serious of which was an Oct. 26 bombardment killing 15 Israelis and wounding 34.

The raid, first of its kind by Israelis in the 20 years of Egyptian- Israeli hostilities, was aimed at the Qena bridge, a new span over the Nile opened to traffic last year, and the 800 yard Naj Hammadi bridge, as well as an electric power station 300 miles south of Cairo. The station provided electricity to the area and was described as a switching station on a high tension line between Cairo and the Aswan Dam. It was reported that large sections of Egypt were blacked out. Israel said that all of the commandos returned home safely. The number was not disclosed, nor was the means of transportation. It was assumed that either light planes or helicopters were used. The 90 year old Naj Hammadi bridge said to be a Nile River regulator, was rendered useless. The Qena bridge center was damaged, leaving it impassible pending repairs. Military observers were reported to be astonished at the depth of the commando penetration. Israeli planes attacked Luxor airport in the area during the Six-day war on June 5, 1967, an action called almost suicidal since it was beyond the safety point of the fuel load of the attacking planes.

In calling the meeting, Egypt charged Israel with a “flagrant act of aggression,” said that the raid was carried out by aircraft, and asserted that one civilian was killed and two were wounded. Mr. Tekoah told the Council called into session by its November president, Otto R. Borch of Denmark, that the commandos sought to avoid bloodshed, carefully avoiding densely populated areas and not attacking troops. “It struck in an effort to persuade the Egyptian government that the continuation of its aggressive actions is fraught with danger and that the maintenance of the cease-fire agreement is a common interest of the United Arab Republic and Israel.” Assailing “sanctimonious declarations of Egyptian acceptance” of the Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 Middle East peace resolution, he cited a long series of acts of “aggression” by UAR troops at the canal. He also said that the Oct. 26 artillery assault was “sinister when one considers that the attack was made at a moment when Ambassador (Gunnar V.) Jarring was striving in New York to achieve progress” in his mediation efforts. Mr. Jarring sat in the Council chamber during the session. Mr. el-Kony asserted that “words of peace and acts of war” was Israel’s policy. Mr. Tekoah told the Council that Israel’s raid was an act of self-defense designed to teach Cairo that the Egyptian Army may not “ignore its cease-fire obligations with impunity, that Egypt (cannot) claim security for itself and deny it to Israel.”

Attending his first Council meeting, United States Ambassador J.R. Wiggins said the new cease fire violations had greater political implications than any since October, 1967, when Egyptians using Russian-made Styx missiles sunk the Israeli destroyer Elath. He said that the Council must increase the effectiveness of UN cease-fire machinery and prevent further violations by both parties. Yakov A. Malik of the Soviet Union accused Israel of aggression and demanded that it be condemned. It is understood that no resolution was being considered or circulated this weekend for presentation to the Council

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