U.N. Mediator Bernadotte Assassinated; U.S. Report Presumes Killers to Be Sternists

U.N. mediator Count Folke Bernadotte was today assassinated in Jerusalem, it was confirmed here this afternoon by the State Department. A message from John J. MacDonald, U.S. Consul in Jerusalem, to the Department said that Bernadotte and French Col. Sorot, senior U.N. observer in Jerusalem, were murdered “presumably by the Stern Gang.”

“This is regarded hero as a great tragedy,” a State Department spokesman said, in releasing the report of the assassination. A press spokesman for the Israeli mission in Washington said: “I am very deeply shocked and grieved. The Government of Israel has always believed that the United Nations personnel is inviolate in performing its duties inside and outside of the state of Israel.”

The text of the message received by the State Department from MacDonald in Jerusalem reads:

“Regret to report Count Bernadotte and Colonel Sorot, French officer and senior United Nations observer Jerusalem, killed this afternoon at 17 hours (Jerusalem time) presumably by Stern Gang, Convoy in which he was riding was returning from Government House. As they passed through Katamon, a Jewish-held area, jeep suddenly appeared blocking route, containing four men, two of which proceeded to Count’s car.

“Colonel Frank Begley, United Nations security officer (an American citizen), grappled with one and was slightly wounded in face. Second reached Count’s car and assassinated two men at point blank range with Sten gun. Jeep succeeded in escaping. Above is preliminary report. Full report will follow.”

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