JERUSALEM (May. 26)
Col. George A. Flint, United Nations chairman of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission, was killed by Jordanian rifle fire this afternoon when he attempted to rescue six Israeli policemen wounded in a surprise attack by Jordan forces in the Mt. Scopus demilitarized zone. Four of the policemen subsequently died of their wounds after having lain unattended, under Arab fire, for hours.
The 47-year-old Canadian officer, carrying a white flag, braved the Arab barrage in a heroic effort to reach the wounded Israelis after the Jordanians, entrenched at the Arab village of Issawia, had rejected pleas of United Nations officials for a cease-fire to permit evacuation of four Jewish policemen who lay wounded in the Israeli-held enclave. Col. Flint was hit about 3. 45 p. m. as he attempted to make his way to the wounded men and died of his wounds as continuous Arab fire prevented aid from reaching him and the wounded Israelis.
(At United Nations headquarters in New York, Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold issued a statement expressing sorrow over the “tragic loss” of Col. Flint whose death was caused, he reported, by a head injury. He promised a full report as soon as it was received. He warned that “the sacrifices of this day should be a reminder of the vital necessity for a radical change of the attitudes which have led up to the latest tragic events and which must be overcome if peaceful conditions are to be restored in the area.”
A spokesman for the Canadian Foreign Office at Ottawa was reported to have said it had been notified that Col. Flint had been shot while accompanying a Jordan patrol searching for Israeli snipers. At Washington, State Department sources said the American envoys in the Middle East had been requested to send a full report on the Mt. Scopus affray. In London, it was expected that Israel Ambassador Eliahu Flath would call at the British Foreign Office tomorrow morning to discuss the Mt. Scopus attack.)
Col. Flint, a resident of Outremont, suburb of Montreal, and a veteran of the Korean war, was badly wounded 22 months ago by a mine explosion on Mt. Scopus. He had only recently signed for his third year with the U.N. truce mission here.
According to the Israeli military spokesman, a police patrol of the regular Mt. Scopus garrison came under heavy Jordanian fire directed from the woods adjoining the demilitarized zone as the patrol passed through the Botanical Gardens area. The exchange of fire continued for two hours during which two of the policemen were wounded.
At least four more policemen were wounded in attempts by a rescuing force to evacuate them from the line of fire but the rescue attempt failed as Jordanians garrisoned in the Augusta Victoria Hospital joined in the shooting.
A U.N. call for a cease-fire at 3.30 p.m., local time, was spurned by the Jordanians. It was then that Col. Flint made his gallant, single-handed attempt to reach the wounded man.
The United Nations truce authorities finally succeeded in getting Jordanian agreement to a cease-fire some six hours after the first men were wounded. Ambulances were in readiness at the Mandelbaum Gate to receive the wounded men and rush them to hospital as soon as they were evacuated from the mountain top.
The Arab village of Issawia, where the trouble started today, is located in the Arab demilitarized sector of Mt. Scopus but the Jordanians have long maintained military units there. several incidents have occurred in the past involving Issawia either when its residents attempted to work in fields in the Israel sector or when snipers based there opened fire on Israel patrols across the demarcation line.
Israeli sources described today’s incident as one of the most serious involving Mt. Scopus since the War of Liberation. They regarded with utmost seriousness the unprecedented fact that the Arabs maintained their fire for six hours, preventing removal of the wounded, even though they knew that one of the wounded men was a United Nations official and that his life and that of the wounded Israeli policemen depended on their receiving prompt medical aid, for lack of which they died.