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Suspend 3 Teachers Who Escaped from School Building in Maalot

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The Safad municipality has suspended three teachers who escaped from the Netiv Meir school building in Maalot when armed terrorists broke in before dawn last Thursday, leaving 90 of their pupils and one other teacher to their fate. The town council acted after bereaved parents of the 21 youngsters slain by the terrorists demanded dismissal of the teachers who fled. The teachers will remain suspended until a committee appointed by the Mayor of Safad investigates their behavior.

Safad, home of most of the Maalot victims, continued to agonize over the tragedy as the father of one of the victims claimed that he had begged the headmaster of the high school, Shlomo Ben-Lulu, to cancel the three-day camping trip because of reports that terrorists had entered the area where the youngsters were to go.

According to Nissim Sitbon, whose daughter was slain, Ben-Lulu told him it was too late to cancel the Gadna outing because all arrangement had been made. Ben-Lulu, who has been in seclusion since enraged parents tried to attack him during mass funeral services last week, confirmed to a reporter today that Sitbon had indeed approached him May 14 with a plea to cancel the trip.

Ben-Lulu said Sitbon called him only an hour and a half before the students were to leave. He said, nevertheless, that he telephoned police in Nahariya and Acre to ascertain the situation. According to Ben-Lulu, a police official in Nahariya who refused to identify himself hung up without giving details. But the telephone calls resulted in last-minute changes in the route of the trip, Ben-Lulu said.

Shimon Eshed, commandant of the northern regional police headquarters in Nahariya, refused to comment today on Ben-Lulu’s claim that he had called the police station but was not given information. He said the matter was under investigation by a committee appointed by the national chief of police, Shaul Rosolio.

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