JERUSALEM (May. 18)
The explosion of a booby-trapped picnic basket that injured 20 persons on a crowded public beach on the shores of the Dead Sea yesterday was one of several terrorist incidents on the West Bank and in Israel under investigation by police today at the close of the long Shavuot weekend.
Four of the people injured on the beach were still hospitalized this morning. The other injured, rushed to two Jerusalem hospitals, have been discharged. The explosion occurred at about 2 p.m. local time at Ein Feshcha, one of several public beaches on the Dead Sea where both Jews and Arabs congregate on holidays.
Faris Issa Awad, 25, was killed by a hand grenade this morning while he was tarring the roof of a school building near Aare on Haifa Bay. Police said that Awad, a school employe, was carrying the grenade when it exploded. Its pin, found near the body, identified the grenade of Dutch make.
Shortly before noon yesterday, explosive charges detonated under Arab-owned trucks in Ramallah, 15 miles north of Jerusalem and in the neighboring village of Albirah. One person was slightly injured. Police believe that all of the weekend incidents were the work of local terrorists. Terrorist infiltration from outside is believed to have been prevented by the heavy security measures taken in all border areas last week to forestall assaults on civilians during May 16, the 27th anniversary of Israel’s independence and the Shavuot holiday that followed.
ARABS DETAINED FOR QUESTIONING
A number of Arabs were detained for questioning after the beach explosion but most of them were released this morning. According to eye-witnesses, an explosive charge with a timing device was apparently concealed in a picnic hamper the fragments of which were found scattered over a wide area of the beach.
The explosion created panic among the hundreds of bathers from all parts of the country who came to Ein Fashcha yesterday because it is still too chilly to bathe in other areas. Jews and Arabs frequent the Dead Sea beaches in almost equal numbers and no disturbances have ever been reported between them.
An explosive charge was discovered near the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem this morning and was dismantled by police without causing injuries or damage.
TERRORIST CELL UNCOVERED
Israeli security forces, meanwhile, uncovered a terrorist cell in the process of organization inside Israel and arrested suspected members from Nazareth and nearby Yafia village, it was announced today. One of the suspects was identified as Mahmoud Gazzalin, 32, deputy chairman of the Yafia town council, who is reported to have had a number of detonators in his possession.
The gang is believed to have been preparing for acts of sabotage on May 15 when they were apprehended. Gazzalin was elected to the council on a non-partisan ticket associated with Rakah, one of Israel’s two Communist parties.