JERUSALEM (May. 4)
Israel prepared for a festive Independence Day tomorrow but at the same time announced the toughest security measures in years including sealing off the entire West Bank and closing the Jordan River bridges for a day. Jerusalem police, meanwhile, detained scores of Arab suspects for questioning as they sought the perpetrators of last night’s bombing in the center of Jerusalem which injured 33 people.
Only one of the victims was reported seriously injured. The others, including the Greek Consul General and his wife, sustained relatively minor Injuries and most will have been discharged from area hospitals by tomorrow.
The bomb, which police said contained at least five kilos of explosives, caused extensive damage to shops and offices on Ben Yehuda St., the main thoroughfare nearest the site of the blast. Police Minister Shlomo Hillel told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last night that the terrorists’ motive seemed to be to mar Independence Day celebrations, particularly in Jerusalem.
Re-enforced army and police units were plainly visible in Jerusalem today as the capital readied itself for tomorrow’s events. Precautionary measures were taken all over Israel but were strictest on the West Bank where police have already carried out the preventive detention of well-known extremists.
Heavily armed military units have been concentrated in the main population centers of Judaea and Samaria, including the towns of Ramallah and Nablus, Road blocks were set up at various points to check all vehicles. On Independence Day. tomorrow, no vehicles will be permitted to enter Israel from the administered territories and traffic across the Jordan River bridges will be suspended.
WEST BANK UNREST CONTINUES
Unrest continued to simmer on the West Bank today and scattered incidents of violence were reported. I Nablus, a focal point of recent disturbances, the townspeople imposed a protest curfew after the Military Governor rejected Mayor Basem Shakaa’s appeal to lift a curfew imposed by Israeli authorities on the “casbah” in the old section of town. High school students in Kalkilya stoned passing vehicles today and forced shopkeepers to shut down. Classes were suspended. In Jenin, Israeli authorities detained a number of girls after a demonstration.
It was learned, meanwhile, that an Israeli army major will go on trial shortly in connection with the death last month of Ahmed Dich Dahicul, an Arab from the West Bank village of Salfit. Dahloul was allegedly beaten by soldiers while in an army vehicle that was taking him to Tulkarem for questioning. The soldiers have claimed that the major in charge had ordered them to rough up all detainees.
EMPHASIS ON SPECIAL EVENTS
Independence Day celebrations will begin this evening when 10 Jewish youths from abroad and two Israelis light torches “for the glory of the State of Israel” on Mt. Herzl. No major military parade will be held. The emphasis this year–Israel’s 28th year of independence–will be on special events in neighborhoods and development towns.
Meanwhile, Israel took the occasion of Independence Day eve to release the first photograph of a “Lance” ground-to-ground missile in action somewhere in Israel. The photo was a confirmation of foreign press reports two weeks ago that Israel has already received about 100 of the American-made weapons.
According to a report accompanying the picture, two “Lance” missiles were successfully test-fired last month in the presence of Premier Yitzhak Rabin, Defense Minister Shimon Peres and senior army officers. They landed within a few meters of the center of their target area. The “Lance,” which has a range up to 70 kilometers, has been incorporated in Israeli artillery units, the report said.