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Ramleh Surrenders to Jews; Israeli Forces Fan out in Major Drive in Central Palestine

The Arab town of Ramleh today surrendered to Israeli forces which yesterday fought their way into its streets. The terms of the capitulation were being drawn up today, 48 hours after the start of the first major Israeli offensive since the truce.

In the sister town of Lydda, five miles to the northeast, street fighting was still in progress today, despite earlier reports that it had fallen. It was unofficially reported that Lydda’s mayor was assassinated by Arabs while he was en route to the Jewish lines to sign surrender terms. Military observers here believe that several thousand Arab Legion and other troops surrounded and cut off in the Lydda-Ramleh pocket will surrender without a major battle.

Meanwhile, the Israeli forces fanning out north of the Lydda-Ramleh area are threatening Ras el Ein, Arab-held village which controls the water supply to Jewish Jerusalem. In their drive the Jews also captured a quarry some five miles from Petach Tikvah from which the Arabs have been shelling the outskirts of Petach Tikvah. The Israeli air force bombed Ras el Ein, and a town commanding the toad between Tulkarm and Jenin, anchor points of the Iraqi-held “triangle” in central Palestine, The Jews also captured Beit Naballah, Arab Legion base north of Ramleh, yesterday.

A reliable but unconfirmed report stated that Israeli forces have also begun a push on Jenin from the north. This is the first indication that the Jews have resumed their pressure on the anchor point which they entered just before the truce and then evacuated to take up positions in the hills surrounding it.

FIERCE BATTLE RAGING ON SYRIAN BORDER

An official communique issued here late this evening spoke of heavy fighting on the Syrian border, in the vicinity of Mishmar Hayarden. A fierce see-saw battle has been in progress for several days in this sector, with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties on the other. The Jews today said that they had captured a large number of prisoners at Mishmar Hayarden and had seized a considerable quantity of war supplies.

An Arab air raid on Tel Aviv took place in the pre-dawn hours this morning, No casualties were reported, but one person was killed and seven wounded in yesterday’s air attacks. Two hundred and fifty Jewish political prisoners, held by the British for several years in Eritrea and later in Kenya detention camps, today arrived here. Those who were physically fit immediately joined the army.

Four Arab towns on the highway between Majdal and Latrun, important “bases respectively of the Egyptian invasion force and the Arab Legion, were captured yesterday by Jews driving southward from the Ramleh area. Control by the Jews of a section of this highway will prevent a Juncture of the two Arab armies, which have been aiming at cutting off southern Palestine from the rest of the country.

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