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Assassination Attempt on Hussein; Guerrillas Vow Showdown with Jordanian Government

An attempt to assassinate King Hussein failed today as shots were fired at his car as he rode through the streets of Amman. Government spokesmen said they had no clues to the identity of the would-be assassins. The attempt followed a Palestinian guerrilla challenge to the government yesterday after night long skirmishing between government and guerrilla forces on Sunday left one guerrilla dead, and one soldier, two civilians and 20 guerrillas wounded. Each side accused the other of having started the shooting. Fatah, the largest guerrilla newspaper, declared in an editorial “If the government wants a showdown our revolution will be obliged to take action, but this showdown will be the last and our armed revolutionary masses will determine the result–inevitable victory.” This latest shooting episode broke out after a rebroadcast of King Hussein’s tough speech in which he warned that he would “crack down” on any attempts to disrupt his kingdom.

Government leaders and officials of the Palestinian Organization met yesterday to discuss the fighting and Premier Abdel Moneim Rifai later told reporters “everything will be fine.” Members of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were seen manning defensive positions near their headquarters after the meeting. Meanwhile, according to reports reaching here, Egypt’s War Minister Gen, Mohamed Fawzi has announced the formation of a supreme Arab command that will cover all fronts. Gen. Fawzi is reported to have divided the Eastern front into a northern sector in Syria and a southern sector composed of Jordanian troops and Iraqi and Saudi Arabian troops stationed in Jordan. The Eastern and Western command, which operates along the Suez Canal, will be under the direction of Gen. Fawzi’s office, which will contain representatives of Syria, Egypt and Jordan. No mention was made of Palestinian guerrilla units.

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