Jews Die in Arab Trap in North Palestine; Truce Arragned in Battle Near Jerusalem
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Jews Die in Arab Trap in North Palestine; Truce Arragned in Battle Near Jerusalem

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Forty-two Jews died in an Arab ambush of a convoy near Naharia, a short distance north of Acre, it was officially reported today in government communique

The bodies of five of the Arab attackers, estimated to number about 250 men, are discovered near the scene of the massacre. The five vehicles in the Jews are transporting supplies for remote settlements in the North were found completely destroyed by fire. The Arabs are reported to have used mortars and machine guns in the battle.

The British Army this morning announced that it had arranged a truce with Arab leaders in the Bethlehem district to permit of Arabs and 95 Haganah men trapped in a convoy of 35 trucks and armored cars. Thirty-five wounded Jews were also included in the evacuation pact. Although the communique did not specify whether the uninjured survivors would also be rescued, all were brought safely into Jerusalem late tonight by a military convoy.

Yesterday’s battle, resumed for a short while today, featured the use of Jewish planes in a fighting capacity for the first time in the four-month-old conflict. Four Jewish planes called to the aid of the convoy by radio bombed and strafed the Arab forces continuously until nightfall. They returned this morning. Although there is no exact figure of Arab casualties in the engagement, one Haganah source estimated that about 100 Arabs died and possibly twice as many were wounded.

The battle south of Jerusalem opened early yesterday morning when the Jewish convoy which had brought a huge amount of supplies to the 500-man Haganah garrison of Kfar Etzion and its three satellite colonies attempted to return to Jerusalem by the same route it had used on the trip out. The Arabs had in the meantime thrown up 17 roadblocks between the settlement and Bethlehem and had mustered one of the strongest forces yet seen in the Palestine fighting. Some of the roadblocks were surrounded by good sized mine fields.


Several of the armored cars leading the convoy were blasted by mines and the entire party was forced to halt and became a target for a heavy forced to fall back to a small village some five miles southwest of Bethlehem where they arranged their vehicles so as to give them a maximum of protection from the Arab projectiles. Here they managed to hold off continuous waves of attackers all through the night.

Haganah headquarters in Jerusalem, which was in radio contact with the defenders at all times, made several attempts to relieve the trapped men, sending rescue parties from Kfar Etzion and Jerusalem. However, the heavy concentration of mines on the road plus the advent of darkness forced the Jews to give up rescue attempts until morning. The British also abandoned efforts to save the men yesterday after one their armored cars hit a mine. Today, 200 soldiers took up positions near the ##e of the battle but did not interfere until after the truce had been arranged.

An additional macabre note was struck in Jerusalem today where a crowd of ?s paraded with the head of one of the Jews killed in the Kfar Etzion fight. British troops and police witnessed the barbaric spectacle but made no attempt to inter?e.


Jerusalem itself was the scene of a number of attacks during the week-end {SPAN}##h{/SPAN} the Arabs most active in the area surrounding the Jewish section of the Old City. Least four Arabs were killed in the exchange of shots and several Jews were picked by snipers. One woman was killed when British troops fired on Jewish positions. British suffered eight casualties including one non-commissioned officer killed {SPAN}##n{/SPAN} one of their patrols was caught in the line of fire between the Arabs and Jews.

At least two other Jewish convoys were attacked in northern Palestine yesterday and today. One raid took place near Safad and the other near Afuleh. Only one ## was reported killed and several Arabs are known to be dead in these actions.

In the midst of the fighting tonight it was reported that British planes had ?otted a blockade runner off the coast of Palestine and that destroyers had been des##tched to intercept it. Jewish sources believe that the vessel is the Yechi Am ?ong Live the People) with some 800 persons aboard.

(In Washington it was announced over the week-end that only air mail letters Palestine will be accepted henceforth. The Post Office Department, acting on a request of the British Government, suspended all “surface mail” and parcel post to Palestine to this country.)

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