Sharett Discusses Egyptian Attack with U.S. and British Envoys
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Sharett Discusses Egyptian Attack with U.S. and British Envoys

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Premier Moshe Sharett summoned the Ambassadors of the United States and Britain to his offices here this week-end and protested to them against the killing of one young women and the wounding of 23 men, women and children at the Israel settlement of Patish, 12 miles inland from the Gaza strip frontier, last Thursday night by a band of Egyptian marauders.

The Premier also expressed the Israel Government’s views on a statement last week by the Egyptian Minister for National Guidance. Major Salah Salem, to the effect that Egypt would be willing to line up with the Western Powers in a regional defense arrangement in return for control of the Negev, which constitutes half of Israel’s territory. Mr. Sharett was understood to have told the two Ambassadors that the U.S. and Britain had some responsibility in the matter of Maj, Salem’s statement because they are pressing the regional defense arrangements.

The attack on Patish came during the celebration of a wedding of young Shmuel Kalami and Simcha Shemass, both recent immigrants from Persia. Several hand grenades were tossed into a group of 30 dancing persons and then a Sten gun was emptied into the group. The bride and groom were not near the dancers at the time and escaped injury.


Varda Freidman, 22-year-old settler from Kfar Vitkin who had volunteered to serve as an agricultural instructor for the recent immigrants, was killed instantly by grenade fragments. Twenty-three others were wounded, two seriously. At the funeral for Miss Friedman the following afternoon at Kfar Vitkin, the mourners included Defense Minister David Ben Gurion and Chief of Staff of the Israel Army. Maj. Gen. Moshe Dayan.

An Israel army unit was rushed to the area almost immediately and set off in pursuit of the marauders. The next morning, after Israel had complained to the Israel-Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission, a UN team of observers joined the search. The tracks of two men led from the scene of the raid back toward the Gaza strip border.

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