Jerusalem (Dec. 26)
The Haganah and the Irgun this morning signed an agreement placing the extremists’ forces under the command of the Haganah. Negotiations are reported proceeding to include the Stern Group in the unified defense set up, but no decision has been reached.
Under the agreement, the Irgun retains its own forces, but it will refrain from separate operations and obey the orders of the Haganah Supreme Command which, incidentally, has announced the opening of a military college with 200 students. The agreement should have the effect of cutting down attacks on troops and police, since it bars the Irgun from attacking the British or the Arabs.
The Haganah-Irugun unity comes after more than a year of desultory negotiations–which were broken off on several occasions–and under the pressures of increasing Arab attacks, which today cost the life of a top Agency official and nearly resulted in the death of Mrs. Goldie Meirson, Agency political chief, in Jerusalem.
AGENCY YOUTH IMMIGRATION CHIEF KILLED; MEIRSON WOUNDED IN CONVOY ATTACK
Hans Beyt, head of the Agency’s youth immigration department, was killed when a Tel Aviv-Jerusalem convoy was attacked by Arabs near Mount Castel. Mrs. Meirson, who was travelling in the same convoy, was grazed by a bullet and her bodyguard, Haganah Warrant Officer Abrsham Filman, was seriously wounded. Itzhak Gruenbaum, executive member, who was travelling with Mrs. Meirson, was uninjured, although several others were wounded. Another Tel Aviv-Jerusalem convoy was attacked at Babel and several passengers wounded, while two Jews were woonded when their vehicles were attacked in Upper Galilee.
The heaviest casualties were suffered a few miles outside of Jerusalem by a convoy bound for Artuf, which is about 17 miles west of Jerusalem. Four of the 29 passengers were killed and five wounded. The others fled from their vohicles, and were picked up by passing troops.
The minor-scale warfare going on in Haifa, which Jewish sources estimate cost the lives of four Jews and 40 Arabs yesterday, continued sporadically during the night and broke out in full-scale violence again this morning. As of this afternoon three Jewish residents had been killed and several wounded, but there were no reports of casualties suffered by the Haganah inside the city.
COMMANDER OF HAGANAH UNIT KILLED IN ACTION
However, a Haganah unit attacking an Arab position on the road between Haifa and Kiriat Eliahu lost its commander, Joseph Bardas, 22, when it was met by withering fire. The second-in-command of the unit was wounded, but the Jews succeeded in drving off the Arabs, inflicting heavy casualties in the process. In another encounter in the same neighborhood, a squad of the Palmach, Haganah’s crack troops, engaged an
At Tel Amal, a short distance outside of Haifa, armed Arabs killed Bela ##erl, 63, and eight-year-old Margalith Mizrachi, who was on the way to school. The attackers were driven off by a Haganah defense squad.
Another child, five-year-old Malka Skandrion, was killed when an Arab bullet concentrated the dining room of her home in the Hatikvah quarter of Tel Aviv, which has again become the scene of heavy fighting. A Haganah guard, Itzhak Franco, 20, was killed in the same area and fighting was continuing. Attacks were also launched on Tel Aviv’s suburbs, including Bat Yam and the Zablawi quarter, but were repulsed by the Haganah.
200 SYRIANS UNDER GERMAN OFFICERS PARTICIPATING IN HAIFA BATTLES
The Haifa area battles are the result of the arrival in the city and its environs of 200 well-trained “shock troops” from Syria, under the command of five German officers, a Haganah spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. He said that the Germans were apparently familiar with Haifa and established an “attack belt” of seven well fortified positions in varions parts of the city, from which snipers kept up a constant fire. From time to time, the Arabs mass and launch large-scale attacks and then resume the aniping.
The spokesman said that the British police and troops continue to hamper the Haganah’s attempts to fight off the Arabs. He also revealed that when the chairman of the Haifa Jewish Community Council demanded protection for the Jews in the city, the local district commissioner told him that the Jews should first cease fire.
Seventy Jewish prisoners were transferred from the Jaffa prison today to a jail in Tel Aviv. The move, which followed grenade attacks on Jewish prisoners by Arabs during the past two days, was carried out during curfew hours and under the strictest secrecy. Jewish women prisoners at Behtlehem are scheduled to be transferred Sunday to a new jail at Athlit which is still under construction.
ARABS RAIDING FREIGHT TRAINS TO GET FOOD FOR GUERRILLA UNITS
Arab guerrillas last night held up a freight train near Tulkarn and escaped with 800 sacks of flour and rice, which they carried off in 40 trucks. The recent attacks on food trains are believed to be motivated by the necessity for the Arabs to build up huge reserves for their guerrilla units.
Mystery surrounds the killing last night of two British soldiers seated in a Tel Aviv seaside cafe and the wounding of two others. Jewish sources claim that a British armored car was dashing about in the vicinity and quote one of the vounded as stating that he believed the car accidentally fired a burst into the cafe. The official account blamed the attack on the Sternists. The bodies of two Britons were found in Haifa during the night; they are believed to have been killed by Arabs.
The headquarters of the Red Mogen David has sent letters to all Arab mayors, mukhtars, heads of local councils and to the local press drawing attention to the fact that Mogen David ambulances have been fired on while picking up wounded and dead. The letters point out that the organization performs the functions of the Red Cross in Palestine and aske that its neutrality be respected, since it extends aid to all persons without regard to whether they are Arabs or Jews. The organization has also announced that it is establishing a blood bank to meet current extraordinary needs, and has appealed for volunteer donors.