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Israel Court Hears More Details on Plot to Bomb Soviet Embassy

The chief of Israel’s intelligence service, whose name is being withheld, today continued his testimony on the plan of the underground group “Sarafand” to blow up the Soviet embassy in Tel Aviv. He said that the leaders of the terrorist group planned to carry out their plot immediately after Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin sent a harsh letter of warning to Israel’s Premier David Ben Gurion in connection with the Sinai operation.

As soon as the intelligence service learned about the plot, it warned known members of the underground group, the chief of the secret service told the court today. He was pleading against the release under bail of Yaacov Herouti, charged with leaderships of the underground movement. The prosecution asserts that Mr. Herouti is the head of the terrorist group that assassinated Dr. Rudolf Kastner last March.

The intelligence official also testified that his organization knew about underground plans to assassinate British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd early in 1956. He also said the intelligence service learned about the plans to kill Eric Johnston, President Eisenhower’s special Ambassador on Middle East irrigation plans, late in 1956 when a former underground member, identified only as Elishvili, confessed that plan. The intelligence chief stated that Elishvili said he was prevented by Herouti from sending a bombtrap to the then Prime Minister Moshe Sharett.

Police contacted all persons who had been convicted of membership in the “Sarafand” underground group who were known still to be active and warned them that all of their plans were known, the head of the secret service declared. He asserted that the release of Herouti would be a public danger since he might seek to carry out the thwarted plot.

He revealed that Premier Ben Gurion had been asked to invoke anti-terrorist regulations permitting arrests of underground members without court orders. The request had been made because the intelligence service lacked legalistic evidence for such arrests, but it was rejected by the Premier, the official testified.

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