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Israel Begins Probe of Seizure of Consulate in Johannesburg

Gen. (Res.) Rehavah Zeevi, Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s special advisor on counter-terrorist activities, has left for South Africa to begin a thorough probe into the seizure of the Israeli Consulate in Johannesburg. Zeevi is expected to make a detailed examination of the circumstances that enabled David Protter, a 24-year-old South African Jew, who was a security guard at the consulate, to take control of the offices.

The Jerusalem Post today quoted a high-ranking official as saying that there had not been a need for a high-level security investigation into Protter’s past before he was given the consulate job since his post was a relatively minor one, merely checking the belongings of people entering the consulate. But there was still no official explanation how Protter was employed even though he was discharged from the Israeli army three years ago as unfit for service.

In Johannesburg, Police Minister James Kruger said Protter would probably be put on trial for murder. During Protter’s 19-hour capture of the consulate, four persons were killed–two hostages and two pedestrians in the street down stairs–and 32 persons were wounded, Meanwhile, the Israeli said over Israel Radio yesterday that Protter did not shoot any of the hostages. He said the casualties inside the consulate were inflicted by the return fire of South African forces.

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