Foreign newsmen were allowed for the first time on Tuesday (November 20th) to visit the north-east corner of the Sinai desert, captured by Egypt in the outbreak of war with israel last month.
GV Damaged trees in Great Square of Port Said ZOOM TO people around tank
SV Cut-off trees
LV People look at tank
GV Wrecked building
GV & LV Other wrecked buildings (2 shots)
SV PAN Damaged exterior of clinic
SV Nun in window
CU Nun shows damaged cross to pressmen
GV & SV Other wrecked buildings (4 shots)
SV & GV Debris outside buildings
GV & TILT Mosque in Port Fuad
SV & CU Damaged exterior mosque
GV & SV Damaged buildings
GV & CU barbed wire along Bar Lev line (3 shots)
LV Captured bunker
TV PAN Trenches
GV & CU Fortifications (3 shots)
Helmet on ground bullet scarred
DAMAGED PALMS IN PORT SAID: PEOPLE AROUND CAPTURED ISRAELI TANK: WRECKED BUILDINGS: DAMAGED CLINIC: NUN IN WINDOW: NUN SHOWS WRECKED CROSS: WRECKED BUILDINGS AND DEBRIS: CLOISTER: MOSQUE IN PORT FUAD: WRECKED BAR LEV LINE: BUNKER: TRENCHES: FORTIFICATIONS: BULLET SCARRED HELMET ON GROUND.
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Background: Foreign newsmen were allowed for the first time on Tuesday (November 20th) to visit the north-east corner of the Sinai desert, captured by Egypt in the outbreak of war with israel last month.
The newsmen were taken to the northernmost outpost of the former Israeli Bar Lev Line, and to the twin towns of Port Said and Port Fuad.
The newsmen reported that Israeli minefields, marked out with Hebrew signs still lay untouched in the barren grey sand on the east bank of the Suez Canal. But most of Israel's Bar Lev line fortifications, made of sand, steel girders, rock and concrete blocks, lay in ruins. The Egyptians were firmly in control.
The reporters said Port Said, on the west bank of the Canal, bore the scars of war, with several buildings flattened by Israeli bombs. The city Government, Major General Abdel Tawab Hodeiby, whose official residence was damaged, said up to 200 civilians were killed during the bombardment. He accused the Israelis of directing their attacks at civilian targets, such as schools, churches and mosques. The General said the Israelis had begun their attack on the city after recovering from the surprise Egyptian attack on the Bar Lev line on October 6.
The population of Port Said dwindled from 300,000 to 50,000 after the 1967 War, and the reporters said that the city was now almost a ghost town. The twin city of Port Fuad on the east bank of the canal, was empty of all but soldiers, even though it had not been taken by Israel.
One of the survivors of the Israeli bombardment, French-born Sister Marie Des Anges told newsmen a bomb had destroyed a house opposite a clinic she runs, killing twenty people inside the house, and injuring twenty-two patients in the clinic. She said the theatre had been ruined, and the patients evacuated.
Newsmen said the Bar Lev fortresses and trenches had caved in under the impact of Egyptian air and artillery barrages. Steel girders wee twisted like broken toys, and sandbags had been blasted to shreds. The reporters said the mile wide stretch of grey sand was littered with spent cartridges made in Belgium and Israel.
In Port Said, torn date-palms stood forlorn around and obelisk erected to fallen Egyptian soldiers. In front of it stood a captured Israeli tank adopted as a new memorial.
SYNOPSIS: The city of Port Said at the northern end of the Suez Canal bears the ugly scars of war. A captured Israeli tank has been adopted as a memorial to Egyptian dead.
Foreign newsmen were allowed into the war-torn city for the first time on Tuesday. Among the wrecked buildings was a clinic, run by one of the survivors of the attack, Sister Marie des Anges. She told newsmen how a house opposite had been bombed. Twenty people inside it had been killed, and her clinic had been ruined.
Reporters said Port Said was like a ghost town. About two hundred people had been killed in Israeli raids, and the population had fled. The twin town of Port Fuad on the east bank of the Suez Canal was deserted except for soldiers. The town suffered heavily under Israeli bombardment.
The newsmen were taken to the northernmost stretch of Israel's Bar Lev line, now firmly in Egyptian hands. Most of the fortifications and trenches lay in ruins. The mile-wide stretch of grey sand was Israel's front line of defence against attack from Egypt. But it proved almost useless when the Egyptians stormed it on October the sixth.