Syrians Repulsed in North After Fierce Battle; Cyprus Jews Begin 24-hour Hunger Strike

A strong Syrian force which crossed the Jordan River south of Mishmar Hayarden during the night and engaged Israeli troops in fierce fighting was repulsed today after a prolonged battle, Haganah announced here. At the same time it was reliably learned here that the strategic Arab strongpoint of Jenin has been infiltrated by Israeli troops after heavy fighting and following the evacuation of the city by its Arab defenders, but this was not officially confirmed.

The Syrians lost many dead in their retreat, Haganah said, adding that Syrian infantry, armored and artillery units also attacked the settlement of Mishmar Hayarden and the Jewish-held Arab village of Malakieh. Syrians also raided Jewish points with air and artillery attacks, the communique said. Israeli planes simultaneously bombed and strafed Iraqi military camps in the Tulkarm area.

A dispatch from Nicosia reported today that the 24,000 Jews detained on Cyprus have announced they would begin a 24-hour hunger strike tonight in protest against Britain’s ban on the immigration to Israel of able-bodied men. The interned Jews sent a message to U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie, warning him of the “consequences of the ban.”

At least 200 Iraqi troops were killed in the Qaqun fighting, Haganah announced, while 12 Jews lost their lives when Israeli troops seized the town last night. Haganah also denied an Arab claim that 400 Jews were killed at Jenin as “absolutely unfounded,” adding that only a few scores of Israelis have been killed in the entire Jenin operation. Irgun commandos reported today they raided the transportation depot of the Egyptian column near Isdud, destroying many vehicles and returning safely to their base. The enemy column is reported under relentless Israeli attack. In the south, Givath Haim, Gan Yavneh, Beer Tuvia and Hatzor were attacked by enemy artillery units today while Saad and Beeroth Yitzchak were raided by Arab planes last night.

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