JERUSALEM (Apr. 22)
All British military and police personnel were alerted today as news of the Jewish victory in Haifa reached this city. Some quarters expressed the belief that Haganah might be planning a similar drive on Jerusalem.
The Palestine Government’s Immigration Department offices, located in the central section of the city, were occupied today by armed Jews. The offices were vacated several days ago.
British troops remaining in Palestine between May 15, when the Mandate ends, and August 1, will have the same status as occupation troops, British military headquarters announced here today.
The announcement, in the form of a communique, also stated that the British will be responsible for the Arab Legion only until May 15. After that time the British military commander, Lt. Gen. Gordon H.A. MacMillan, will assume no responsibility for the crack Transjordan soldiers.
From time to time, the communique said, the British commander will announce which areas remain under British control. The British have no intention of interfering with the normal life of the Palestine population, nor do they wish to assume control of any local administrations, the communique continued, but they will not permit any activities which might hamper the orderly withdrawal of British troops from the country or endanger their safety. Military courts will be established to try persons charged with interfering with the military evacuation of the British.
HAGANAH RAIDS ARAB BASES IN NABLUS AREA; LOSSES HEAVY
A 250-man Haganah force today raided the Arab villages of Zerim and Muris, which have been serving as bases for Fawzi el Kaukaji’s “Liberation Army” in the Nablus area. Early reports said that 50 Arabs and 20 Jews were killed, and many on both sides wounded, but there was no confirmation here.
The Haganah men, in a surprise offensive, penetrated the villages’ outer defenses, with heavy losses, and succeeded in ousting a strong Iraqi detachment. A second Haganah unit outside the villages cut off all possible retreat to the fleeing Iraqi forces, indicating that the Arabs have suffered a major defeat. The Jews withdrew from the area after demolishing all military installations.
Reports from lower Galilee today indicated that large numbers of Arab families in the Tiberias and adjoining sectors are evacuating their homes and crossing the Jordan into Transjordan. Arabs in Migdal, near Tiberias, today asked the Jewish commander in that city, from which all Arabs withdrew earlier, to permit them to leave the country peacefully. The Jews agreed and even provided the Arabs with buses which brought them to the banks of the Jordan.
Arabs battling Haganah forced for control of the Nebi Yousha police station, overlooking the Lebanon-Palestine highway in northern Galilee, retreated across the border today after a fierce battle in which 21 Jews and an equal number of Arabs were killed. The Arabs staged an assault on the nearby Jewish settlement of Ramat Naphtali, but were repulsed after an eight-hour exchange of fire.
A dispatch from Damascus said today that the Syrian defense minister, alarmed by recent Arab setbacks in Palestine, is conferring with King Abdullah in Transjordan to map plans for full-scale aid to the Arab forces in Palestine.
Six twin-engined Jewish airplanes, part of a “mysterious squadron” reportedly based in various Mediterranean airdromes, are expected to land in one of Palestine’s 24 airports today, Jewish sources revealed.