JERUSALEM (Jan. 7)
Knowledgeable sources said today that “heads will roll” here as a result of the seizure of the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok Dec. 28 by four armed Arab terrorists who held six Israelis hostage for 19 hours before they were persuaded to release them unharmed. The sources said that resignations would be demanded from certain officials responsible for the security of Israeli missions abroad because of the ease with which the terrorists entered and took over the embassy.
Gen. Abaron Yariv, Premier Golda Meir’s special security advisor, reported to the Cabinet today on measures that have already been taken to tighten security at Israeli legations abroad. There were no indications, however, what those measures were or what lessons were learned from the Bangkok incident. Government spokesmen refused to divulge any information for security reasons. Cabinet sources said that “personal details” were not discussed at today’s session.
It is believed that in addition to the forced resignations of some officials, others may be in line for official reprimands. One of the latter is said to be Israel’s Ambassador to Cambodia, Shimon Avimor, who was visiting the Bangkok embassy when it was seized and became one of the hostages. Avimor is expected to be called on the carpet for leaving Phnom Penh for Bangkok without informing Jerusalem.
TERRORISTS TRIED IN ABSENTIA
(According to unconfirmed reports from Damascus, the four terrorists who failed in their mission have been tried in absentia by a revolutionary court. Three have been sentenced to death and one to 20 years’ imprisonment. The terrorists, given safe conduct by Thai authorities, were flown to Cairo after they released their hostages. A Palestinian source was quoted as saying that the stiff penalties were imposed on the basis of an interrogation of the terrorists by a Palestinian commando leader in Cairo.)
(Other sources said the four would be brought before a revolutionary court martial to explain their failure, An El Fatah spokesman was quoted as saying that the terrorists were members of the Black September group “and it is for their leadership to decide how to deal with them. We are in no way connected with the affair.”)
The first of the Israeli hostages – Embassy First Secretary Nissan Hadass and his wife, Ruth returned to Israel on leave last weekend and are due to meet with Foreign Minister Abba Eban this week. Due home shortly are Pinhas Lavie who was head of the consular section at the Bangkok Embassy, and Dan Beeri, an attache, and his wife, Sara. Sources here speculated as to whether any of them would return to Bangkok. Foreign Ministry officials dismissed any suggestion that they would not.