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Palestine Warfare Slackens As Both Sides Regroup for Major Battles in Latrun Area

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The Palestine war today appeared to have lost some of its intensity, although both Israel and Arab forces wore regrouping their forces in preparation for heavy battles, particularly on the Latrun and southern fronts. An official communique reported today that Shafa Amr, 13 miles northwest of Nazareth, was captured by Israeli troops this morning. Ain Mahil, northeast of Nazareth, was seized last night. The Arabs lost 120 dead in an unsuccessful attempt to overrun Sejera, the Israeli announcement said. Sejera is an Arab village In the Beisan valley now In Jewish hands. The Arab attackers, made up of Fawzi Kaukuki’s irregulars, retreated after three costly assaults on the village.

Meanwhile, Syrian troops encamped a short distance across the Syrian border, in the Mishmar Hayarden area, lost 50 dead today when units of the Israeli Army struck at then in a surprise offensive this morning. Tel Aviv’s citizens were alerted against air raids twice today, but no bombs struck the city. After the second alert Egyptian bombers dropped their missiles in the port area, but all missed their targets and exploded harmlessly in the sea. Syrian bombers attacked Haifa again today, but caused no damage. Military observers here pointed out that the Egyptian air force in Palestine seems to have been reinforced since the truce. Heavier planes and bombs are now being used in the Egyptian attacks, especially against Tel Aviv. Reliable estimates place the number of Egyptian Spitfires engaged in actual operations against the Jews at 60, while prior to the four-week truce they were said to have had no more than a dozen aircraft in the air.

In the south, the Jewish settlements of Doroth and Ruchana were bombed twice yesterday, an Israeli communique said. Little land fighting occurred in the Negev today, An Israeli surprise attack near the Negev Arab village of Baqua resulted in the routing of a force of Egyptians camped nearby. The Jew 3 killed seven of the Arabs and wounded eleven more. During the night Israeli commandoes penetrated the ?avasion stronghold of Ishdud, north of Gaza on the coast, and blew up an Egyptian troop barracks and a car park. Casualties were believed heavy.

Jewish artillery batteries in Jerusalem shelled Arab concentrations in the city’s southern outskirts. Arabs are reported to have begun an exodus out of villages in this sector. Yesterday, an Israeli attempt to get 30 trucks laden with arms and supplies into Jerusalem via the main highway was foiled when Arab Legion artillery laid down a heavy barrage across the road at Bab el Wad.

INTERIOR MINISTER ANNOUNCES LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL SET-UP

Interior Minister Isaac Gruenbaum today told newsmen that the Mandatory Power’s district administration set-up, including the district commissioners and officers, will be continued for the time being. Most of the officials who served the British will continue under the Israeli regime, Gruenbaum said, but emphasized that a new spirit is now required — a realization that they are now working for their own state.”

The Minister promised that the Government of Israel will do everything possible towards the development of local self-government and said that regional governmental institutions will be established soon where they are not yet in operation. Replying to a question, Gruenbaum said that he and Labor Minister Mordecai Bentov would continue to handle all labor disputes on a basis of arbitration rather than enforcement. The press will also come under his supervision, Dr. Gruenbaum said, adding that Israel’s newspapers “are being given every assistance.”

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