JERUSALEM (Apr. 8)
The situation on the Israel-Egyptian Gaza strip frontier continued today to be tense and United Nations truce chief Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns announced that he had cancelled his scheduled flight to Rome to meet Dag Hammarskjold, UN Secretary General who is on his “peace mission” to the Arab countries and Israel. (A cable from Rome to the JTA said today that Mr. Hammarskjold had decided to leave Rome tomorrow and confer with Gen. Burns in Jerusalem instead of Rome, as originally contemplated.)
Gen. Burns told Premier David Ben Gurion today that “Egypt will be placed in the position of an aggressor” if it is proven that the Egyptians ordered yesterday’s attacks by Arab suicide squads, known as fedayein on Askelon, Nitzanim, Shoval and other Israeli settlements, firing upon civilians in the streets and killing and wounding a number of Israelis. Nine Israeli points were attacked by the Arab squads, it was established today.
The UN truce chief, in his talk today with Mr. Ben Gurion, expressed hope that pending a UN investigation Israel will not launch reprisals against Egypt for yesterday’s attacks. Mr. Ben Gurion, in his capacity as Defense Minister, said that Israel reserves freedom of action for itself, unless unequivocal and unreserved assurances are obtained from the Egyptian Government that it will refrain from all hostile acts in accordance with the existing Israel-Egyptian armistice agreement. The meeting between Gen. Burns and Mr. Ben Gurion, which took place at the former’s request, was attended by Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett.
1,000 TEACHERS LEAVE TEL AVIV TO FORTIFY BORDER SETTLEMENTS
The Egyptian attacks on border settlements prompted more than 1,000 Tel Aviv teachers today to leave their schools and go to border settlements in the Negev to work on fortifications there. The schools in Tel Aviv will remain closed for one week.
Detailed reports on yesterday’s attacks by the Arab guerrillas today established that four Israeli civilians were murdered, 16 others were wounded and that the Arab squads operated from bases in the Egyptian-held Gaza strip. The attackers fanned out over an area extending from north of Beersheva, due east of the Gaza strip, in an are that ended up on the outskirts of Askelon, about six miles north of the Gaza strip.
A number of cars were attacked on the main road from Beersheba to Tel Aviv with ambushes taking place above Beersheba, outside Shoval and South of Falluja. Most of the Israeli casualties were suffered in the road ambuscades. At an immigrant camp at Askelon, a 65-year-old grandmother, Shuda Jadai, died just after snatching her baby grandson from a crib into which a hand grenade had been thrown when the Egyptian commandos attacked. The baby was unharmed. A second grandchild, a bride-to-be, was seriously wounded by another grenade. The room was full of people celebrating the girl’s engagement. A water pumping station was blasted at Askelon while at Nitzanim explosives were thrown into the tractor station.