Colonial Secretary Reports to British Parliament on the Athlit Incident

Asked for an assurance that armed resistance to the law in Palestine would be met with “full rigor”, Colonial Secretary George Hall stated in the House of Commons today he could make no full statement before receiving a report on recent incidents in Palestine.

The question was raised by Lord Winterton in connection with the escape from the Athlit camp of 203 Jewish “illegal immigrants.” Hall told the House of Commons that according to latest information the 208 have so far evaded arrest, but that a full investigation was continuing.

“It appears,” he reported, “that a large number of armed Jews attacked the Athlit clearance camp for immigrants between one and one thirty yesterday morning. They were armed with rifles, pistols and daggers. Some were in police uniforms, Four temporary constables on guard were seised and beaten with rifle butts and bound and gagged. One Arab was seriously hurt and one Jewish temporary constable was tied up but not seriously injured.

“Over 200 illegal immigrants were released apparently with inside knowledge. Eleven immigrants who had presumably refused to accompany the escapees were bound and gagged. Of these one Caristian woman died of suffocation, (The Palestine press reported that the woman was a German disguised as a Jewess.)

“The party then escaped in the direction of Mount Carmote. The police took immediate action to seal the Carmel Range. One police party which proceeded to establish a road check was fired upon and ambushed by Jews armed with rifles, sub-machineguns and grenades. The police truck was overturned and I regret to say a police constable was shot dead. Next of kin have been informed. One Arab constable was seriously woulded and a Jewish corporal slightly wounded,” Hall declared.

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