TEL AVIV (Dec. 28)
Four captured El Fatah terrorists who face possible death sentences in the slaying of two Israeli border patrol sergeants, demanded today that they be given prisoner-of-war status and treated accordingly. A spokesman for the gang, which will be tried before a military tribunal, demanded that he be given a lawyer appointed by the “high command” of El Fatah, the Syrian based terrorist and sabotage organization. A fifth El Fatah member, an Israeli Arab, has already been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The El Fatah prisoners based their claim for POW status on a broadcast by Labor Minister Yigal Allon who said that Israel would deal with the El Fatah as it would with any organized military unit. The gang was rounded up after a two day pursuit in the hilly Tulkarm-Nablus region. They were captured in a cave with a large cache of arms and explosives following a sharp exchange of fire with Israeli security forces.