The Minister of the Interior of Cyprus denounced today the bombing of a theater in which the film “Exodus” was showing and said that “no acts of lunacy” will be permitted to halt showing of the film.
The blast occurred last night under the back door of Cinema Diana Two, where the film, which relates the Jewish struggle to establish Israel, has been showing all this week. The theater was shut down after the blast but showing of the film continued at other theaters of the same company.
When news of the blast filtered into the other theaters, many viewers hastily left apparently fearing similar blasts at the theaters in which they had been sitting. The explosion damaged the rear door of the theater and left a crater in the ground nearby.
A spokesman for the theater firm said at first they would cancel all showings of “Exodus” for the time being but later, the company announced they would continue the performances tonight and tomorrow in Nicosia and on Monday would begin showing it in Limassol.
Interior Minister Polykarpos Georkratzis said in his statement that the blast was “undoubtedly a criminal action which by no means will serve the intentions of the culprits. The film is approved by the competent censorship. It will be shown and no acts of lunacy will stop its projection.” He added that his Ministry would “take all necessary measures in this direction.”
Police officials said today that they were actively investigating the explosion, concentrating their probe on “some suspected quarters.” The blast climaxed a week-long controversy over the first showing of the film in Cyprus which began when theater officials said they had been threatened by gunmen, who warned them not to show the film. It opened on schedule under police protection.
Arab diplomatic missions in Nicosia, who had exerted considerable pressure to prevent showing of the film, issued a joint statement last Thursday calling the film a distortion of the events leading to the establishment of Israel and making the usual charges that Israelis had “usurped” the “Arab homeland.” The Israel Embassy countered with a Statement charging that the Arab criticism offended the policy of Cyprus of maintaining friendship and cooperation with all nations.