Israel on Monday (January 28) handed over territory south of the vital Suez-Cairo road as the withdrawal of forces from Egypt continued.
Israel on Monday (January 28) handed over territory south of the vital Suez-Cairo road as the withdrawal of forces from Egypt continued. Following a period of a few hours when the United Nations force controlled the road, the Egyptians were once again in possession of the strategic highway -- and the way was open to lift the virtual siege of Port of Suez, encircled since the October War.
The disengagement went off without difficulty. There was even a mood of gaiety, with Israeli soldiers signing as they handed over to the 7,000-man United Nations force. Under the term of the agreement, U.N. troops were to hold the area for a six-hour "buffer" period before the Egyptians moved into the abandoned positions.
Black palls of smoke could be seen around the horizon as the Israelis burned waste materials and abandoned equipment prior to withdrawing. But Israel has undertaken that no civilian property will be damaged and that roads, bridge and even landing strips will be left intact.
But Egyptian military installations were destroyed long ago, and Egyptian bases recently built on the East Bank of the Suez Canal are to be demolished under the terms of the disengagement agreement.