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Israel Security Forces Launch Crackdown on Arab Terrorists, Saboteurs

Israel’s security forces moved into high gear today in a campaign to suppress the Arab terrorist and sabotage activities which have been assuming growing proportions in the last few days. The drive was aimed at capturing or immobilizing the bands of heavily-armed saboteurs slipping into the west bank area from Jordan territory.

This morning, Army units used helicopters to flush out and intercept a gang of 13 saboteurs sheltering in a cave about nine and a half miles southeast of Nablus. They exchanged fire with the terrorists and captured all 13 after wounding 11.

The marauders had a powerful arsenal, consisting of five sub-machine-gun of Russian make, six rifles, a Russian assault gun, a semiautomatic rifle, a light mortar, seven Czech-made mines. Russian hand-grenades, other explosives and two bazookas of a type used in the Syrian army. Large quantities of ammunition for all the weapons were found in the search of the cave.

In another search operation in the Nablus area today, two local Arabs were arrested after they were found possessing a machine gun, a sub-machine-gun, explosives and ammunition.

Another gang, members of the El Fatah terrorist organization, was captured over the weekend in the hilly regions of the west bank. The men confessed to having infiltrated from Jordan a few days ago. They asserted that the Jordanian authorities had aided and armed them.

The Arab town of Nablus was placed under a 5 P.M.-7A.M. curfew following the arrest there of a number of El Fatah men and the shooting of two Arab policemen Friday. Nablus was described as a Jordan-inspired “center of disobedience.”

One group of El Fatah men was captured while sleeping in a cave near Jenin after having crossed over from Jordan. They had Chinese-made sub-machine-gun, bazookas and other weapons.

EAST JERUSALEM RESISTANCE LEADER IS DEPORTED TO JORDAN

In East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities struck at the fountainhead of Arab resistance to Israeli administration. Early Saturday morning, they arrested Sheikh Abdul Hamid Es-Sayeh, a member of the Jerusalem Moslem religious court who recently proclaimed himself president of the court and chairman of the Moslem High Council, and deported him to Jordan under the emergency regulations.

Es-Sayeh was a signatory to a recent pamphlet urging Arabs on the west bank not to recognize Israeli authority. He was also accused of being head of the “National Guidance Committee” set up recently to encourage and lead opposition to Israeli rule. It was this committee which called for a general strike in East Jerusalem and the west bank earlier this month.

Israeli officials also said that the Arab notable had claimed he was a Jordanian citizen and that he had sent out letters on Hashemite Kingdom stationery. He was accused also of having acted, in contact with Jordanian authorities, on instructions they gave him.

A third underground organization has taken the field against Israeli authorities in the occupied areas, it was learned today. The gang, calling itself, “The Avengers,” is composed of youths aided and financed by the Syrian regime. The two veteran groups in the field, El Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization, get substantial support from Jordan.

Israeli officials declared that a large number of commandoes were sent into Israel immediately after the end of the June Six-Day War to conduct sabotage actions in Israel. They added that while Jordanian officials had denounced the actions, there was ample evidence that the activities had the blessing of Jordanian authorities and that a majority of the saboteurs have been trained and equipped in various Arab countries under Jordanian auspices.

Security officials stressed that the sabotage actions of recent weeks were well organized and directed according to a plan. They said they had also learned that professional saboteurs, who are on the Jordanian Government’s payroll, have sought to recruit local Arabs for acts of sabotage.

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