TEL AVIV (Mar. 21)
Jewish immigrants arriving from Iraq within the last 48 hours told Israel officials and an investigating committee set up by the organization of Iraqi Jewish settlers here that the Iraq Government’s law for the se-questration of Jewish property was being enforced with maximum brutality, especially in the provincial towns and villages.
They reported today that a convoy of Jewish emigrants proceeding from Sheikh Harban to Bagdad airport was fired upon. A police escort returned the fire. In the town of Kut, they reported, a mob ransacked the Jewish quarter. The police in the town, the refugees said, conducted a house-to-house search in the Jewish quarter and seized all moveable property. They gave the owners no receipts.
What was described as a virtual pogrom atmosphere, was said to prevail in many provincial towns. The Jews there were said to have shut themselves up in their house, fearful of provoking attack by appearing in the streets. In many of the towns, it was stated, the local authorities have refused to allow Jews to draw from their frozen bank accounts to buy food for themselves and their families.
The demand that the Jews in Iraq be placed in concentration camps pending their departure for Israel was made in the Iraqi Parliament by Mahadi Kubba, member of the powerful Istiqlal Party, the newspaper Davar reported today. Kubba said that internment of Jews was necessary to prevent the Jews from selling their property.
Newly-arrived immigrants told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Jews about to emigrate were being approached by Iraqis making offers of a fraction of its the value for moveable property in Jewish possession. The Alien Property Custodian commission set up by the government has forbidden the sale or transfer of Jewish immoveable property and the land registration office has been closed to prevent property transfers.
Planes flying the Bagdad-Lydda airlift are now making two flights daily, carrying 120 immigrants on each flight. The direct run from Bagdad to the Israel airport takes three hours. An American pilot on the run told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the Bagdad airport officials are questioning the pilots as to their nationality.