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Nablus Mayor Returns Home to a Hero’s Welcome

Mayor Bassam Shaka, who lost both legs in the June 2 bomb attacks on West Bank Arab mayors, come home yesterday to a hero’s welcome after undergoing treatment for more than a month in Amman, Jordan. Thousands of people jammed the streets to cheer as Shako arrived with his wife in an ambulance which picked him up at the Allenby Bridge across the Jordan River.

Heavily armed Israeli troops were also visible in evidence of the tight security clamped on this town to forestall possible extremist demonstrations. Shaka himself was forbidden to speak to reporters. For the crippled mayor, his entry into his home town was a duplicate of the rousing send off he received on the Jordanian side of the bridge. Busloads and carloads of well-wishers assembled there to cheer and shout “Long live the Palestinian revolution.”

Shaka made the most of it Wearing brown pajamas, the bandaged stumps of his maimed legs clearly showing, he circled the waiting ambulance twice in his wheelchair to allow photographers and television cameramen ample time to record the event on tape and film. He will leave Nablus in about a month for either England or France to be fitted with artificial limbs.

Meanwhile, Sulieman Hirbowi, a Druze border police sapper who was severely injured on June 2 while dismantling a bomb intended for the Mayor of El-Bireh, returned to his home in the Western Galilee village of Jullis yesterday on a temporary leave from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. He is due back at the hospital shortly for plastic surgery and further attempts to save what remains of his eyesight. Hirbowi lost one eye and most of the vision of the other in the bombing outrage which has yet to be solved.

The Druze was allowed to address reporters as he left the hospital. “We hold no bitter feelings against anyone,” he said. “We were brought up and educated to love Israel and honor all people.”

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