JERUSALEM (Sep. 8)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol congratulated today the police and security services for the speed with which they smashed the Arab gang responsible for the bombing outrage in Tel Aviv last week in which one man was killed and some 70 persons injured. The Prime Minister also thanked the public for its cooperation in the capture of the vandals and in preventing the widening of rioting against Arab residents by infuriated Jews. He took pains to praise those Jews who had protected innocent Arab citizens from attacks by “hoodlums.”
Mr. Eshkol, in reporting to the regular Cabinet meeting on the hand grenade blasts, called the attack an atrocity aimed at killing civilians indiscriminately and said such outrages must be viewed with the utmost gravity. He then reported on his talks with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Police Minister Eliahu Sasson on means to prevent both such sabotage acts and the ensuing riots. Mr. Sasson told the Cabinet meeting that the arrested saboteurs had confessed to all but two of the recent sabotage acts in Jerusalem in recent weeks — the bomb planted in the courtyard of the East Jerusalem American consulate and the explosive charge left by a house in an outlying quarter of Jerusalem. No injuries occurred in those two incidents. Mr. Sasson, in a statement over Kol Israel, warned Arab residents of the West Bank, as well as Arabs in neighboring states, to refrain from such acts of terror and sabotage. Speaking in Arabic, the Police Minister stressed that most of the Arabs who took part in the grenade planting and similar sabotage acts during the past month had been caught and had confessed.
Police officials, reporting on the speedy apprehension of the vandals, said a dragnet was out for two brothers from Hebron who were the leaders of the gang and for one of the four men who actually placed the explosives in trash cans in Tel Aviv last Wednesday. The other three were among the 18 men seized after the blasts, many of whom admitted their roles in a series of such actions, the police reported. The police said that the Tel Aviv bomb planters also carried out the bombing of the Orient Cafe in Jerusalem and the placing of grenades in trash cans in Jerusalem. The leaders were identified as Abdul Rahim Tahim Jaber of Hebron and his brother Munir Jaber.
A police cordon thrown quickly around the Tel Aviv bus depot area, the officials said, made possible the almost immediate capture of two of the men who placed the explosives. Some 300 Arabs were detained and questioned. Most were released but a few were detained for further questioning. Police then learned that two graduates of a Jerusalem secondary school, Abdul Latif Said Kamak, 20, and Salim Nouseibah, 20, were among the four who placed the bombs. From them, police apparently learned the identity of the other two, one of whom–Ahmed Sanduka–was arrested when he returned to his East Jerusalem home the night of the bombing. Marwan Haref, the fourth man, was still at large today.
The police said that the escape plans of the quartet were disrupted when incorrectly-set fuses detonated the grenades before they could make their getaway. All of the arrested men were remanded for further investigation. A group of 17 men and three youths was arraigned in magistrate’s court here on Friday for further investigation of charges of responsibility for the “night of the grenades” three weeks ago, placing of a time-bomb near Bikur Holim hospital in the center of Jerusalem and planting of a grenade near a filling station. The three youths were charged with conspiring to cross into Jordan to join terrorist gangs there. Two of the men pleaded not guilty. One apprehended Arab was not charged and it was indicated he would be a state witness.