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Israelis Arrest 24 Arab Terrorists for Cinema Bomb Plot; Nab Huge Arms Cache

Police here announced today the arrest of 20 men and four women who comprised the Arab terrorist gang responsible for the placement of a bomb in the Zion Cinema here last Sunday as well as for many other recent acts of sabotage.

The police authorities said that they had seized a huge store of arms and ammunition in a sudden raid which took place some 20 hours after the bomb was found in the theater.

Shaul Rosolio, the Jerusalem district chief of police, in announcing the arrests, said the gang had been responsible for placing an explosive under the aerial of the United Nations transmitter in the Government House complex in Jerusalem, the blasting of the old Fast Hotel in Jerusalem, shooting at an Israeli vehicle near Tulkarm, and other acts of sabotage and attempted sabotage.

The weapons cache consisted of hundreds of pounds of explosives, two-inch mortars and a massive quantity of small arms and ammunition of a type used by the Syrian army. Chief Rosolio said that the captured saboteurs admitted they had been in Syria for brief training periods. Many of them infiltrated into Israel from Syria, aided by Palestinian commandos and, in some cases, their crossing into Israeli-occupied territory had been aided by Jordanian authorities, the police reported.

ALL REMANDED FOR 15 DAYS; ROUND-UP RESEMBLED MOVIE SCENARIO

Chief Rosolio said that the police had been tipped off concerning the appearance of one of the women saboteurs, tracked her down, then located and arrested a second woman in the roundup of the gang. He said that the police had “full knowledge” of the gang’s operating methods, organization and particulars of its activities, which he described in detail. The gang used several cars for their activities in various areas on the west bank, transporting members and material back and forth. Some of the cars carried Jordanian license plates and others Israeli plates. The gang vehicles included one truck. All have been seized by police.

All 24 have been remanded in custody for 15 days by the Jerusalem Magistrate. Their offenses can be tried by a military court, but it is expected that they will stand trial in an ordinary criminal court.

The round-up and capture of the gang was carried out for the most part by the police, with some assistance from the Army security services. It was stressed that everything was done in strictest legality. For example, the search of the gang’s headquarters in a quarry shack was carried out only after a valid search warrant had been issued. The shack yielded leaflets linking the terrorists with so-called disobedience.

The capture of the terrorist gang involved a wild automobile chase and a roadblock in typical movie style. The terrorists’ car yielded a small arsenal of guns, shells and high explosives.

The gang members themselves are said to range in age between 22 and 26 and have no known occupations. Two of them admitted that the group operated under the auspices of the Syrian terrorist organization. El Fatah. One of the two gang chiefs, known as “Dr. Noor,” was identified as the man who planted the bomb in the Zion Cinema Sunday night.

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