TEL AVIV (Feb. 5)
A Jewish school in Damascus, confiscated by Syrian authorities, is serving as headquarters and recruiting center for the El Fatah terrorist organization which trains saboteurs for incursions into Israel. This was disclosed to an Israeli military tribunal in Jenin today by a captured 19-year-old El Fatah member, Mouhamed Achmed Sallah, who was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for terrorist activities.
The school, located in the middle of Damascus’ Jewish quarter, was operated by the Alliance Israelite Universelle, a French-based organization that maintains a network of Jewish schools in Arab and other lands.
Young Sallah, a native of Jenin on the West Bank, told the court that he had fled to Amman during the Six-Day War where he joined a cousin who was about to be drafted into the Arab Legion. To avoid the draft, he and his cousin fled to Syria where they both joined El Fatah. They were recruited at the Alliance school building.
A military tribunal in Lydda opened the trial today of eight members of the Syrian-trained El Fatah terrorist band who were implicated in the attempted bombing of the crowded Zion cinema in downtown Jerusalem last Oct. 9. The tribunal revealed last Friday the true name of the self-proclaimed “leader” of the El Fatah gang, known hitherto as “Dr. Nur.” He is Mahmoud Assad and is neither a leader nor an important member of the gang, although the information he gave Israeli security authorities after his arrest contributed to the prompt round-up of the terrorists, a military spokesman said. It also saved him from a life sentence. He was given 30 years’ imprisonment and thanked his Israeli defense counsel after the trial although he lamented, “I shall be an old man when I come out.”