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Israeli Offices, Destroyed by Fire, Not Seen As Object of Arson

A fire swept through a multi-story building here yesterday destroying a number of offices and business firms including the offices of the Israeli consulate and Israeli tourist and aliya center. Fire marshals investigating the blaze said this morning that arson was suspected. The building also housed the Irish consulate. The fire reportedly began in the rear of a clothing store on the street level and spread throughout the building. Neither fire marshals nor local fire and city arson squad officials were immediately prepared to comment beyond that.

Sources here told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it was unlikely that the arson was a deliberate attempt to destroy the Israeli offices. “The likelihood,” said one source, “is that it may have been aimed at the Irish consulate and we just happened to be there.” He noted that in addition to the destruction of the offices, the fire may also have destroyed important official papers, including passports, in the Israeli consulate office.

Another source told the JTA that the Israeli Consul General Shimshon Inbal had received threats recently from persons identifying themselves as members of the terrorist Black September movement. Inbal’s home in Brookline, a suburb of Boston, has been under “extra surveillance,” the source said, and his children are being escorted to and from school by Brookline police. Meanwhile, the state fire marshal and Boston city arson squad have been ordered to continue their investigation of the fire which caused an estimated $400,000 damage to the building.

Israel Aircraft Industries has signed an agreement appointing the West German G.L.S. firm of Hesse as sales agents in West Germany for Israel’s Commodore Jet executive aircraft. The plane has already been given flight clearance by West German authorities and a sample is in Germany for exhibition purposes.

The Herut’ Party’s Central Committee elected a 31-member Executive yesterday, notable for the absence of Gen. Ezer Weizman, the party’s former No. 2 man. Weizman rejected an offer of the 32nd seat on the Executive whose members were hand picked by party leader Menachem Beigin. The vote for the new Executive was 155-23 with eight abstentions.

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