Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Soviet Nuclear Weapons in Egypt Poised to Strike Israeli Cities

November 7, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Soviet nuclear weapons are now in Egypt, poised to strike at Tel Aviv or any other Israeli city, according to the magazine Aviation Week And Space Technology. The magazine, published by McGraw Hill and considered highly reliable, identified the weapons as two brigades of Soviet-made Scud surface-to-surface missiles equipped with nuclear warheads with a range of 180 miles. It said that U.S. reconnaissance satellites have obtained photographs of the warheads near the missile launchers east of Cairo. The article by Cecil Brownlow, executive editor of the magazine, appearing in its Nov. 5 edition, says the missiles were shipped to Egypt from a Russian Black Sea port last Sept. 12, nearly a month before the Yom Kippur War broke out.

It recalled that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had publicly threatened to use long range missiles against Israel during the recent fighting but did not mention that they were armed with nuclear warheads. The article said it was significant that no attempt was made by the Russians who man the Scuds to camouflage them, indicating that they wanted their presence known to the Israelis as a form of pressure to accept Arab peace terms. According to Brownlow, the deployment of Soviet nuclear weapons in the Middle East is part of a “serious squeeze” by Moscow against U.S. interests all over the world which will take shape within the next 60-90 days. Other aspects of the squeeze, he said, were the positioning of heavy artillery in the Cuban Sierra Maestra mountains aimed at the U.S. Naval Base on Guantanamo Bay, and a heavy North Vietnam tank build-up in South Vietnam.

In London, Brownlow said today in an interview with BBC Sound Radio, broadcast this afternoon, that the American intelligence reports confirm beyond any doubt that at least two Soviet Scud missile brigades have been stationed in Egypt on the road to Cairo. The missiles, which are also equipped with conventional warheads, are under Soviet, not Egyptian command, he said. Queried by the interviewer, Brownlow said reconnaissance is capable of establishing whether missiles are conventional or nuclear, and that the presence of the latter in Egypt has been confirmed by such means.

It is believed, he added, that Egypt would not be allowed control over this force, which consists only of Russian technicians. They were stationed in Egypt, he stated, both as a warning to Israel and as a means of putting pressure on her to accede to Egyptian demands over the trapped Egyptian Third Army. In answer to another question, he stated that Israel, too, is now in possession of atomic weapons in the form of nuclear warheads for its “Jericho” rockets. The range of the Israeli missile is 250 miles.

Recommended from JTA