MIDDLE EAST: Ambush at the Gate of Tears

Israelis call their southern seaport of Eilat "a big hole in the right place." Its clear, deep, coral-bottomed natural harbor easily accommodates big ships. Since the completion last year of a 42-in. pipeline that runs 160 miles from Eilat across the Negev to the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon, the big hole is ordinarily choked with tankers waiting to off-load oil. Last week one such ship became a special attraction for vacationers at seaside motels. While moving through the narrow strait of Babel Mandeb (Gate of Tears), which separates the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, the 78,000-ton...

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