Total Power Failure Hits Israel

Israel suffered a total power failure today when an apparent short circuit at the Reading power plant in Tel Aviv blacked out the entire country. The failure occurred at 2:45 p.m. local time. By midnight electricity was partially restored in Tel Aviv but Jerusalem and the northern parts of the country remained without lights. Full restoration was expected by the early morning hours. (This story had to be telephoned to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s editorial office in New York City since overseas wire transmission services were also affected.)

Officials of the Israel Electric Co. ruled out sabotage and attributed the failure to an “irresponsible error.” They did not elaborate. It was not immediately explained why a failure at a single plant should have triggered a general power failure.

There were no reports of terrorist activity or looting as a result of the blackout. But a military spokesman said tonight that the situation created potentially serious security problems and all steps should be taken to avoid a recurrence in the future.

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