Five Jews Killed, 40 Wounded in Clashes in Oran; Curfew Imposed

Jewish organizations were watching with concern today the situation of Jews in Oran after a weekend of violence in which at least five Jews were killed and some 40 wounded in clashes in that Algerian city. A curfew was imposed on Oran Friday night and remained in effect.

The organizations have so far been unable to reach their offices in Algeria in efforts to learn more about the fighting between Jews with French security forces and with Moslems in some of the bloodiest intercommunal battles in Oran in several months.

The clashes began, according to French official sources, when a small group of Jewish youth marched through the streets of Oran on Friday shouting the traditional European slogan of “French Algeria,” Some reports said that the demonstration was sparked by a broadcast of the OAS, the French underground, directed to Oran’s 30, 000 Jews.

On the outskirts of the Jewish quarter, the marching Jews were met by security forces who tried to disperse them. No details were known of the exact circumstances in which the troops opened fire. Two Jewish youths were killed then. Synagogues were jammed that evening and on Saturday morning, the Jewish quarter was on strike. Shops were closed and workers absented themselves.

After synagogue services, some Jewish youth massed at various points of the city where they were soon joined by non-Jewish members of the European community. They clashed repeatedly with Moslem passersby and counter-demonstrators. At other points, the Jewish youth also battled with security police trying to disperse them.

By the end of the day, at least three additional Jewish victims were reported, as well as some 20 more wounded. Younger members of the Jewish community told French newsmen: “We will not leave. The demonatration should be seen as a gesture of determination on our part to defend our homes.”

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