JERUSALEM (Sep. 18)
Two Arab prisoners who went to Jordan after their release from an Israeli jail yesterday were returned to Israeli territory last night after having been imprisoned and beaten in Amman. The two Arabs were part of a group of 16 prisoners that Israel agreed to release as a “humanitarian gesture” for the return of the hijacked El Al airliner by Algeria. (The New York Times reported today that the first five of the prisoners were released and returned to the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai.)
The two Arabs, who had been serving terms for infiltration into Israel territory, elected to return to Jordan. Jordanian authorities agreed to accept them and they were handed over by representatives of the International Red Cross. Late last night they turned up at the Allenby Bridge begging to be readmitted to Israeli territory. According to their story, they were arrested, questioned and beaten by the Jordanians.
Egyptian authorities have still not replied to requests by several other prisoners to return to their territory. The requests were transmitted by the Red Cross after interviewing the prisoners. One prisoner who elected to go to Lebanon was turned over to Lebanese authorities today at the Ras el-Nakura border crossing.
Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan and Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Chaim Bar-Lev today inspected the Allenby Bridge which is the main crossing point between the West Bank and Jordan. Their object was to streamline checking procedures which have created traffic bottlenecks in the past. It was reported that an average of 1,500 persons cross the bridge daily.