Irgun Refuses to Release Remaining Three Kidnapped Officers; Explosions in Tel Aviv

Troops and police continued searching today for three British officers still held by the Irgun Zvai Leumi, as a report from Tel Aviv said that several explosions had occurred there tonight.

Although the release of the abducted men was expected momentarily today, in accordance with a promise reported to have been made yesterday by the Irgun to Mayor Israel Rokach of Tel Aviv, the extremist organization’s secret radio said tonight that although it had released two of the men yesterday for “reasons of its own,” it was not planning to free the other three. It attacked the Haganah for condemning the kidnappings.

Earlier the underground radio of the Haganah reiterated its appeal to the Irgun to release the kidnapped men. The broadcast warned the British that there can be no peace in Palestine until the 100,000 Jews are admitted. “The aim of the Jewish people is to build and not to destroy,” it said, “but unfortunately we have to resort to violence and destruction so that the world will know that if justice is not given, we will take it.”

Details of the experiences of the two officers who were released were given today in an official communique. Flight Lieutenant Russell revealed that he was kept in a cellar in Tel Aviv, chained hand and foot, for five days. He said that after his capture his kidnappers forced him into a taxi and then transferred him to a truck where he was thrust into a large crate. Also in the crate he found Captain Rae, another British officer who was also released last night. Captain Rae was gagged with adhesive tape and bleeding from a head wound. Rae said that the leader of his captors said his disciplinary action would be taken against the man who had struck him, as the kidnappers had been instructed not to harm the officers.

BOTH OFFICERS SAY THEY WERE WELL FED AND NOT MISTREATED

Both officers said that they were well fed. Every night the leader of the group, who remained masked, visited them and brought food. At Rae’s request he also brought a Bible. On Friday night he gave the officers a shaving kit during his usual visit. He returned a few hours later to return all their possessions accept their identity cards and informed them that they were to be released. Russell said that an armed guard then thrust a one pound note in his pocket. He tried to refuse the money but was forced to take it. Both he and Rae were brought to a garden near British headquarters in a taxi and freed.

British Lieut. Wedvush, who was arrested after the killing of Abraham Rosenberg, 35, in Tel Aviv last week as he was walking in the street, has confessed the shooting, it was officially announced today. Meir Sicherer, 27, who was wounded by troops of the Transjordan Frontier Force during a raid on the village of Kfar Giladi last Wednesday died in a Tiberies hospital today.

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