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Yom Kippur War
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Israeli documentary: Egyptians killed Israeli POWs in 1973 war
Channel 10 airs film claiming Egyptian army killed 'dozens, if not hundreds' captures Israeli soldiers during Yom Kippur War

Egyptians killed ''dozens, if not hundreds'' of captured Israeli soldiers in the 1973 Mideast war, according excerpts of an Israeli TV documentary screened Sunday, responding to charges that Israeli forces killed captured Egyptian soldiers in an earlier conflict.

 

Channel 10 TV showed parts of interviews with Israelis who served in the 1973 conflict, relating specific cases in which they said Egyptian forces killed soldiers who had been captured or had surrendered.

 

The Israeli commercial TV channel said its documentary was a response to the outcry over a different program shown earlier this month on Israeli state TV about the 1967 conflict.

 

Egyptian media said that the program showed that Israeli forces executed 250 captured Egyptian soldiers, sparking widespread outrage in Egypt and a crisis in relations between the two countries, which signed a peace treaty in 1978.

 

The documentary producer denied that his film made such an allegation. Participants said the 250 were armed Palestinian fighters killed in a battle, but senior Egyptian officials demanded an investigation.

 

'They just shot them'

In the 1973 war, Israeli forces were caught by surprise in a two-front lighting attack by Egyptian and Syrian armies. Thousands of Israeli soldiers on the front lines were killed, wounded or captured.

 

The Channel 10 documentary showed film of what it said were Israeli soldiers, their hands bound behind their backs, shot to death in the Golan Heights and the Sinai desert.

 

Defense correspondent Alon Ben-David concluded, ''Investigations of the Egyptian army's behavior in wars against Israel will find dozens, if not hundreds, of cases of captured Israeli soldiers murdered in cold blood by their Egyptians captors.''

 

Egyptian government officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

 

One of the ex-soldiers, Issachar Ben-Gavriel, said he witnessed one of the incidents. He said he was one of a group of 19 Israeli soldiers who surrendered at the Suez Canal, flying white flags and raising their hands. ''They (Egyptians) just shot them,'' he said, ''11 guys.''

 

Another Israeli who fought in the 1973 war, Eitan Mor-Gan, said he was in a group of captured soldiers who were lined up against a wall. Mor-Gan said before opening fire at them, an Egyptian officer told the soldiers, ''I will kill whoever stays on the ground. Whoever manages to get up will be saved.''

 

In another case, an ex-soldier told of a fighter in his unit who was captured alive but beaten to death during interrogation.

 

Ben-David said the interviews were done during a visit by the ex-soldiers to the sites of the Sinai desert battles, which have been turned into museums by the Egyptians.

 

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