2,000 Troops Besiege Jerusalem’s Old City in Battle with Rebels

Two thousand troops of the Worcestershire and Black Watch regiments today besieged Jerusalem’s Old City and exchanged volleys intermittently with Arab rebels occupying the Moslem quarter behind barricaded gates.

The battle assumed the character of a medieval siege as the military forces took up positions on rooftops overlooking the four-century old walls and traded shots with terrorists concealed behind the ramparts of the walls. The roof of the government building, opposite the Damascus gate, was one of the troop positions.

The boundary between the Arab and Jewish quarters was also a battle line, with police and Jewish Ghaffir (supernumerary police) standing guard to prevent a foray into the Jewish streets. The Misgab Ladach hospital was struck by bullets during volleys between police and Arabs. In view of the tension, the authorities have continued 24-hour curfew in the old city and six-hour curfew, from II p.m. 10 five a.m., in the rest of the city.

A leader of the Jewish self-defense corps, Shalom Mansura, 24, was shot and seriously wounded early today while inspecting the border area between Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

In what was believed to be a preparatory step for martial law, the military authorities were granted supervision of the Palestine police department. The action was disclosed in an announcement in a special issue of the official gazette declaring that the inspector general of police had been “subjected to the general Or specific direction and control of the general officer in Command” of British military forces in the Holy Land.

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