JERUSALEM (Oct. 9)
Intense police activities were reported today as a relentless drive was pressed for terrorists who planted a bomb in the Zion cinema, in the heart of Jerusalem last night. The bomb was discovered and removed from the theater by a policeman shortly before it detonated in the open, where he had dropped it. It shattered windows in nearby buildings but caused no other damage or injuries.
An alert police officer, on duty in the theater, heard the ticking of the timing apparatus on the bomb, picked up the infernal machine and ran outside with it, dropping it in the square near the entrance to the Government Press Office and about 100 yards from police headquarters. The incident occurred about 9 P.M. — the “between shows” time when the downtown area was thronged. The bomb went off before bomb experts, summoned by the policeman, could arrive to deactivate it.
Eye-witnesses told police later that the bomb was placed under a seat in the cinema by two Arab women and an Arab man. According to these reports, the trio stayed in the cinema less than 20 minutes and, on leaving, told an usher in Arabic that they didn’t like the film. It was also reported that several Arab youths from East Jerusalem have been detained by the police.
The policeman who dashed out of the theater with the live bomb is expected to receive a citation for bravery, as is the police sergeant who directed him to place the bomb under some trees in an almost deserted area.
POLICE, SECURITY FORCES ON DOUBLE ALERT; ISRAELIS CALL FOR TOUGH ACTIONS
The police and Army security forces were put on double alert Immediately after the explosion. Hundreds of policemen were recalled to duty and stationed in mufti in public places in Jerusalem, particularly at bus and railway stations, to prevent saboteurs from placing additional bombs. The public was advised not to carry parcels when going to concerts or the theater.
The authorities acted on the assumption that the attempted terrorism was part of a wider plan of terrorism to be carried out by trained saboteurs and terrorists infiltrating from Syria. Army units immediately tightened border controls to prevent infiltration of terrorists, and security forces intensified the general surveillance of suspicious elements among the Arabs.
The incident sparked a strong demand among Israelis for a tougher attitude in the occupied areas to replace the present liberal attitude towards the Arab population.
An editorial in the Jerusalem Post today declared that “the potential murderers will have to learn that Israel has waited and fought for Jerusalem too long not to consider the bombing an event of political meaning.” The evening dally, Yediot Ahronoth, carried a cartoon today, showing Defense Minister Moshe Dayan pasting a fresh poster on the theater billboard with the legend, “Zion Cinema, Israel Premier, ‘The Road To Damascus.’”