TEL AVIV (May. 26)
Arab and Israeli troops today opened a fight-to-the-finish in a pitched battle of mounting fury for final control of Jerusalem’s Old City following the Arab states’ rejection of the United Nations Security Council’s cease-fire order.
Haganah headquarters in Jerusalem today denied that the modern section of the city, where 100,000 Jews are concentrated, was bombed by high-flying Arab planes yesterday. Haganah said that in fact central Jerusalem was subjected to the usual random artillery bombardment and incendiary mortars. However, enemy aircraft raided Rehovoth, Bitzaron and Gan Yavneh.
The fighting fronts in the Western Galilee and in the Negev were generally Quiet today. Haganah said that Israeli planes bombed strong enemy concentrations near Latrun yesterday where heavy fighting has been raging for several days. Arab reports that 600 Israeli fighters had been killed at Latrun were discounted here.
400 ARABS KILLED IN YAD MORDECHAI BATTLE, HAGANAH REPORTS
Haganah headquarters revealed today that at least 400 Egyptian troops were killed during the last seven days of fighting at Yad Mordechai, in the Negev, which was evacuated yesterday. At the same time, Haganah reported, 25 Jews were killed and 40 wounded in the action.
Delayed reports reaching here by plane from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency bureau in Jerusalem say that the morale of the city’s Jews is high. The Haganah commander in the city has issued an order to all Jews in Jerusalem to “go about your business as usual.” The “heroic fight against stronger enemy forces who are unable to make any headway against the defenders of the Old City” continues, on dispatch says. The “gallant fight in the Old City reminds one of the Roman siege nearly 2,000 years ago, ” the report added.
Highly authoritative circles said today in Jerusalem that Thomas C. Wasson, the U.S. consul who was shot by snipers Saturday and died of his wounds a day later, said while he was dying that he was shot at by Arabs. A letter expressing the Regrets of the Israeli community over the death of Wasson and U.S. Navy Engineman Walker was dispatched today to the American consulate by Isaac Ben Zvi, on behalf of The Jewish National Council.