JERUSALEM (Nov. 6)
King Hussein of Jordan appeared today to have won the support of the two largest guerrilla organizations based on Jordanian soil – El Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization – in his conflict with a splinter insurgent group, Kataeb al Nasr (Victory Phalange). Pitched battles between that group and troops loyal to the Kingdom Monday and Tuesday reportedly resulted in at least 25 persons dead, 100 wounded, 70 arrested and another 30 being sought by police.
King Hussein said at a press conference in Amman today that the shooting crisis might have been fomented by Israel. “There is a strong chance that this group was acting according to a plan that did not originate in any Arab state” and that “possibly” Israel was behind it, he said. Only two days ago, King Hussein charged that the dissident terrorists were the “paid agents” of a foreign power which most observers took as an allusion to Syria where several terrorist groups have their headquarters and recruiting stations.
The King also denied a charge leveled by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and various terrorist leaders that he was trying to curtail guerrilla operations against Israel to pave the way for a peace settlement. Only last night, El Fatah charged in a broadcast heard here that Jordan had been involved in a “United States-British plot” to end guerrilla activities.
But reports from Amman today told of a five-point agreement between the Hussein regime and El Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization which agreed to dissociate themselves from Kataeb al Nasr’s actions. The guerrillas denied they had taken part in the disturbances, assured the authorities of their support and expressed hope that the dissident movement would be confined to Kataeb el Nasr.
(Reports from Amman reaching London today quoted a guerrilla spokesman who charged the Jordanian Government with trying to liquidate commando activities as a prelude to a peace settlement. According to Bahjat Abou Ghardieh, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, 13 guerrillas including five leaders were killed by Jordanian forces yesterday. Mr. Abou Ghardieh, who claimed to speak for all guerrilla groups operating from Jordan, said that if there were no new incidents today the Government’s honest intentions would be proven. But, he said, “we fear there might be new surprises, perhaps fabricated incidents to give an excuse for a further crackdown.”)