JERUSALEM (Aug. 26)
Sixteen Arabs were killed this morning and 30 others were wounded in a terrific bomb explosion in Jaffa that brought in its wake bloody rioting and attacks, adding two Jews and two Arabs to the death toll, causing destruction of considerable property and leading the government to invoke drastic curfew to restore order.
The predominantly Arab port city was placed under 24-hour curfew until further notice, as was the boundary area of the neighboring all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv. Outbreaks on the Jaffa-Jerusalem road, with no troops available and insufficient police to provide protection, forced the authorities to suspend all traffic from Jerusalem to the seacoast, with no one allowed to leave Jerusalem.
Before curfew was imposed, Jaffa mobs attacked the Anglo-Palestine Bank and Barclay’s Bank, making an unsuccessful attempt to set fire to the former. Police repulsed the attack on Barclay’s, killing one Arab. Another mob attacked and looted Spinner’s, Ltd., mercantile establishment. Police dispersed the crowd, wounding three Arabs. An Arab policeman was attacked and seriously wounded by a crowd. Later there was sporadic shooting in the Manshieh quarter and a bomb explosion damaged telephone lines. A red cross ambulance was fired upon from an Arab grove near Jaffa. The driver, Tewfik Ahmed, was killed and his assistant was slightly injured.
This morning’s blast occurred in a crowded Arab vegetable market. Some quarters believed it was set off by Arab terrorists seeking to provoke renewed terrorism in the southern districts of Palestine.
With the city tense and thousands of Arabs assembled at the Government Hospital seeking information about relatives, heavy reinforcements of troops and police threw a cordon around the affected areas, dispersed the crowds and occupied danger points in the boundary sector between Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
Closing of the Jerusalem-Jaffa road was preceded by mob attacks upon trucks and automobiles at Ramleh. Eight Jews were wounded and a truck and several cars were set afire. One of the cars attacked contained two prominent Jewish leaders, both of whom escaped unhurt. They are Isaac Gruenbaum, a member of the World Zionist Executive and Dr. Ben-Zion Mossinsohn, a member of the Jewish National Council of Palestine, who recently visited the United States. Among the wounded is a Mrs. Weiss, a refugee from the Burgenland province of Austria, who arrived here yesterday. In a serious condition, she was rushed to Hadassah Hospital by Mr. Gruenbaum.
The bodies of two slain Jews were found on the highway near the Sarafand barracks. They were believed killed by Arab terrorists. No troops were available to patrol the dangerous Jaffa-Jerusalem road because those not on duty elsewhere had been dispatched to the hills in pursuit of Arab bands.
Meanwhile, troops continued their work of punitive demolition of Arab houses in Jenin, where Acting District Commissioner Walter S.S.Moffatt was fatally wounded Wednesday. Two entire streets have already been obliterated by dynamiting. Semi-official sources told the J.T.A. that virtually the entire city would be demolished with the exception of public buildings.
An official communique explained that the authorities were “satisfied that the inhabitants of Jenin have repeatedly aided and abetted armed gangs in acts of violence,” and had decided to “clear up certain buildings for maintenance of public security.” The city, which numbers 10,000 Arabs, has been placed under a nine-hour curfew, starting at eight p.m. It was reported that Arab terrorists themselves killed the actual Moffatt assassin in order to remove all possible evidence of conspiracy.
An apparently heavy engagement, meanwhile, was going on near Bethlehem between troops and an Arab band. Sound of machine guns and either bombs or trench mortars was heard. An Arab policeman, one of four kidnaped on Aug. 22, was found dead near Nablus.
The Government censor’s order prohibiting comment on activities of troops, police and rebels will delay publication of restricted news nearly a day. Events of the previous night may be published in the evening papers the following day. Communiques given out before noon may not be published until the following morning. It is understood that in the case of attacks on Jews, newspapers will be permitted to publish immediately names of the victims together with the fact of death or injury, but with no other details.
With an official explanation for the restriction lacking, it is believed here that it is intended to prevent encouragement of terrorism through publication of reports about disorders. It is pointed out, however, that while the legitimate press, including the Hebrew and English, is severely hampered, the order does not impede terrorists from issuing their inciting mimeograph publications, which are being circulated from hand to hand among Arabs throughout Palestine. It is noteworthy that the order contains the government’s first official reference to “rebels.”