HEBRON (Jul. 26)
The place was too calm to convey to any onlooker that this was the scene — only a few hours earlier — of a murderous attack against Arab students.
The Islamic College in Hebron, a four-story building, stood deserted, with only a handful of soldiers patrolling the area. Outside there were hardly any remains of the assault — two empty cups of coffee left by students during the lunch-time intermission which was interrupted by sudden violence. At the entrace hall, remains of shattered windows, chairs overturned, and total quiet.
At the olive trees grove of the university, one could spot a large stain of blood, with the drops of blood leading all the way to the square in front of the university. This is apparently where it all started.
Around midday two persons — perhaps more –entered the campus from a road behind the olive grove. The men, whose faces were covered with the traditional Arab kafiyyas, stormed in with Soviet-made Kalashnikov machineguns, pouring fire all over the place. Two students, in their thirties, were killed immediately, and this was probably the source of the large blood spot in the yard.
The attackers ran about 50 yards toward the main square of the campus, continually shooting. As they entered the main gate of the building, they threw in a hand grenade, which apparently killed the third person, and wounded 30. According to the latest bulletins all are in good condition in Hebron and Beit Jalla hospitals.
DEMONSTRATIONS FOLLOW THE ATTACKS
The entire attack did not last — according to eye witnesses –more than seven minutes. The army rushed to the scene within minutes, and began a large-scale manhunt. Major reinforcements were rushed to Hebron, partly by helicopters. A curfew was imposed on the city and the nearby town of Halhoul to prevent Arab demonstrations.
Indeed, such demonstrations did take place in the city of Nablus in Samaria. One Arab girl was re- ported killed, and another wounded — apparently in clashes with Israeli security forces. Several soldiers were reported wounded by rock attacks.
Road blocks were placed throughout the main roads of the West Bank, with the security forces checking both Arab and Jewish vehicles.
The security forces ventured no guesses as to the identity of the assailants. The fact that the attack came two-and-a-half weeks after the murder of yeshiva student Aharon Gross in Hebron, and that it was directed against a Moslem religious institution did not immediately indicate that the attackers were Jewish, according to senior officers.
The investigation was reportedly taking all possible directions beginning with the possibility of Jewish vigilantes, through Arab provocation, all the way to the possibility that this was an internal Arab struggle.
The attack was condemned by various Israeli personalities, led by Premier Menachem Begin. It came three days after the curfew was lifted in downtown Hebron, and life was returning to normal following two weeks of tension after the Gross murder. One voice that was not heard until late this evening was that of the Jewish settlers of Hebron. They scheduled a meeting for late tonight, after which they intend to issue a statement.