JERUSALEM (Oct. 20)
Army officers today took newspapermen for a tour of the battle-scarred frontlines in Jerusalem’s Old City, as British forces slowly extended the area conquered yesterday from the Arab rebels who had held the Moslem quarter for four days. While military operations raised the two-day rebel casualty toll to 12 dead and 25 wounded, the journalists, amid the occasional crack of sniper’s bullet, visited the British-occupied Jewish and Christian quarters and sacred streets, barricaded with barbed-wire and sandbags.
One of the streets held was the Via Dolorosa, along which Jesus Christ was led to be crucified at Golgotha. British troops, behind barricades and training machine-guns on Moslem alleys, held this street, which runs between two as yet unoccupied sections, the Moslem quarter and Haram area, which includes mount Morea, the Wailing Wall and adjacent streets. as the sound of sniping was heard, officers pointed to a minaret within the Haram area from where they said Arabs were firing with automatic rifles and mausers. Several other sniping posts had not yet been captured, the officers added.
The city gates were held by British forces and were also barricaded and sandbagged. The British forces had not yet occupied Herod’s, Dung and Golden Gates.
Signs of the Arabs’ destruction and of the battle were everywhere in evidence. Power and telephone lines were ripped up from the ground and torn down from poles. windows and shops and houses were smashed. Expended bullets and unexploded bombs were lying about. some Christian Arabs were surging toward the gates, voluntarily evacuating from the area.
Truckloads of food supplied by the army and Christian institutions were coming in for the relief of Christians and Moslems, while the Council of the Jewish Community was giving provisions to the Jews. Nuns of the convent Sisters of Zion described the Arab populace as “starving” during the bands’ reign.
Brigadier-General Grant, commander of the occupying troops, ordered the troops to remember that 95 per cent of the people in the Old City were harmless, that the area was full of women and children and that the object of the troops was to kill and capture a small nucleus of gangsters and desperadoes. He warned that looting and taking of souvenirs would be vigorously suppressed and urged particular care to avoid action against the mosques unless they were a source of enemy fire. he ordered medical care for the Arab wounded, rebels as well as civilians.