JERUSALEM (May. 31)
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has threatened to kidnap Israeli diplomats and Israeli officials are taking the threats seriously, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned from authoritative sources. The kidnap threats by the extremist Palestinian terrorist group apparently grew out of the kidnap-murder two weeks ago of Ephraim Elrom, the Israeli Consul General in Istanbul, by Turkish terrorists. That crime has not been solved yet and the PFLP apparently believes that it has good chances of success and runs small risks in a similar exploit, the sources said. The PFLP would be expected to demand the release of terrorists imprisoned by Israel as ransom for any kidnapped Israeli, according to the sources. The JTA learned meanwhile that the Turkish kidnapers of Elrom had offered to release him to Israeli agents without ransom but may have been frightened off before the release was affected. According to JTA’s informant, the Israelis were instructed to wait in a car at a certain time and place in Istanbul on May 22, the day before Elrom’s bullet-riddled body was found. They were told to give a pre-arranged signal with their headlights. The JTA was told that the Israelis followed instructions but the kidnapers never showed up. They were believed to have been frightened off by the heavy Turkish police patrols in the area where Elrom’s transfer was to have taken place.
(According to reports from Istanbul today, two Turkish youths believed to be members of the gang that murdered Elrom have been surrounded by police and an angry mob after kidnapping the 19-year-old daughter of a Turkish Army major yesterday.) Israeli authorities believe the Palestinian terrorists may have decided to resort to kidnapping because they think it will be more effective than past actions such as aerial hijacking. Other Sources informed the JTA that it was definitely established that the kidnap-killers of Elrom were trained in Arab guerrilla camps. The sources said Turkish authorities protested to the Arab governments but were told in effect that those governments knew nothing about the charge. It was also learned here that the gun with which Elrom was shot three times was of East European manufacture though not from the Soviet Union. The sources defended the Turkish authorities’ refusal to negotiate with Elrom’s abductors. They noted that “any surrender to terrorists ultimately harms democracy.” (Reports from Ankara today said that the murder of Elrom may result in nine hangings and possibly more if Turkish police prove that the so-called Turkish Peoples Liberation Army was indeed responsible. According to Eric Marsdan of the Sunday Times of London, Elrom’s kidnap-murder has sparked a wave of anti-Arab feelings in Turkey. He said that many young Turkish revolutionaries spend months across the Syrian border learning guerrilla tactics from Palestinian terrorists.)