JERUSALEM (May. 22)
Extraordinary security measures were in effect in northern Israel today — a week after the terrorist outrage at Maalot — as police and military posts were flooded with calls from nervous citizens reporting “suspicious” characters. All reports checked out so far proved to be negative. But the Galilee district police has mobilized its full manpower to deal with possible terrorist infiltrators. Roadblocks have been set up on roads near the Lebanese border. Helicopters are patrolling from the air and infantry squads on the ground. The navy is keeping a close watch on coastal beaches.
Strong security measures have been taken in Jerusalem where a police alert has been in force for several days. Tension mounted in the capital on Monday which was “Jerusalem Day” marking the seventh anniversary of the city’s re-unification. Rumors that armed terrorists had infiltrated the city spread like wildfire today. Police Chief Heinz Breitenfeld went on radio to assure the populace that the rumors were without foundation.
Meanwhile Israeli citizens are arming themselves against terrorist outrages in the aftermath of the Maalot and Kiryat Shemona massacres. Encouraged by Police Minister Shlomo Hillel’s remark that the authorities have no objections to law-abiding citizens bearing arms for self protection, lines have formed outside gunsmith shops here and in other cities. Purchasers must have licenses, which take several weeks to obtain, and must not have a criminal record. Meanwhile, hundreds of Israelis have been reporting to their local police stations to volunteer for self-defense units to counter the terrorist threat.