NAHARIYAH (Jun. 25)
Three seaborne Arab terrorists killed a mother and her two children, in an apartment in this Mediterranean seashore resort city, and one Israeli soldier and the terrorists were then killed in a 15-minute battle early today. The victims were Mrs. Irka Zalenkin. 31. a daughter. Ronit, 10. a son Gilead, 4. and First Sergeant Dan Senesh, 21. The father. Mordecai, and four Israeli soldiers who gunned down the terrorists, were wounded.
Civil defense guards on duty spotted the three killers and one of them opened steady fire at the invaders, forcing them into the house in which the Zalenkin apartment is located. Officials said the alertness of the civil guards prevented a much greater disaster. They said it was around midnight when the rubber dinghy bearing the terrorists reached the Nahariyah seashore, about 10 miles south of Lebanon.
After landing, the terrorists crept toward the first houses along the shoreline. At that point the two civil defense guards spotted the terrorists and challenged them. The reply was a burst of shooting and one of the guards opened fire on the terrorists. The invaders Jumped a small fence and ran to the entrance of one of the houses, firing sporadically in every direction. They entered the building and burst into the Zalenkin apartment, killing the mother and the two children.
FAMILIES PUT UP BARRICADES
Other families in the nine-building block barricaded themselves when they heard the shooting Some hid under beds and some pushed their heaviest furniture against the entrance doors. When the three terrorists attacked the Zalenkin apartment, the father had time to write a note for help and threw it from the window to a man standing below. The man started to go for help but Zalenkin asked him to stay and help rescue the children. As the children prepared to jump from a window, the terrorists burst into the apartment. firing and throwing hand grenades.
By that time, Israeli police and soldiers had cordoned off the house. When they called on the terrorists with loudspeakers to give themselves up, the response was a shower of gunfire and hand grenades. One of the terrorists went to the roof to fire in every direction. The other two Joined him shortly afterwards. The three fired into windows and entrances of the apartments.
DECISION TO STORM BUILDING
Neighbors and residents of the target building were evacuated. Senior army officers decided to storm the building and the residents were instructed by loudspeakers and by telephone to stay in maximum shelter. One of the soldiers made his way to the roof and began shooting at the terrorists. One of the terrorists either activated ammunition tied around his waist or the ammunition was detonated by an Israeli soldier’s bullet, killing him. The other two terrorists raced downstairs, ran into other soldiers and were killed.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, accompanied by Police Minister Shlomo Hillel and Information Minister Aharon Yariv and Chief of Staff Mordecai Gur, arrived at the scene at dawn. Rabin said he was “shocked at the murder of innocent civilians.” He added “We will do everything we can to prevent such attacks and punish those who try to hit us. The terrorists came by sea,” which he called “a new way of terror.” He added “The continued terror requires a constant and continued reaction.”
Medical efforts for the victims began as soon as the terrorists were killed. A team of three doctors decided to perform surgery on Mrs. Zalenkin on the spot but their efforts failed and she succumbed.
The attack was the fourth by terrorists in northern Israel during the past three months, the others being at Kiryat Shemona, Maalot and Kibbutz Shamir. The death toll of Israelis, and a volunteer. stands at 50, including two soldiers.
LAND ROUTES TOO DANGEROUS
Officials in Tel Aviv said the decision of the three Arab killers to use a sea route for their penetration appeared to indicate that land routes from Lebanon to Israel were becoming too dangerous. Israel is completing a barbed wire fence along the Lebanese border, along with other, unpublicized devices, to make it still more dangerous.
The Cabinet met twice today in special sessions on the Nahariyah attack, one at 1 a.m. local time and then later in the morning after Premier Rabin and other officials returned from a visit to the site of the attack. (See story P. 2)
Hillel said on Israel Radio, after the Cabinet meetings, that the Nahariyah raid outcome indicated the high degree of alertness of the public. He said if it had not been for the spotting of the terrorists by the civil defense men, “the tragedy could have been much worse. This is war,” he added, “and just like any war, we have to wage it in a way that will bring total victory.” He said there was no way to close the border totally but the security forces were doing their best to annihilate as quickly as possible, the terrorists who do manage to penetrate Israel. He said the government was studying ways to increase the number of persons in the civil defense forces.