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Police Hold 190 Arabs, 17 Jews in Connection with Three Terrorist Acts in Tel Aviv Area

Police today detained 190 Arabs and 17 Jews in connection with three coinciding but apparently unrelated terrorist acts in the Tel Aviv area.

Arab terrorists are believed responsible for a roadside explosion that injured five people slightly at a bus stop near Holon on the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv early this morning. A few minutes later, another roadside explosive detonated near Geha, a short distance away, without causing casualties.

Two Israel Defense Force-type fragmentation grenades meanwhile partially destroyed the unused Hassan Bek mosque on the seashore between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The grenades were thrown by an unidentified youth according to two eyewitnesses who gave chase after shouting at him in Hebrew and English to stop. The alleged perpetrator lost his pursuers in a side street near the mosque. A police search of the area turned up a knapsack containing a grenade and articles of clothing.

Police said the man, apparently a Jew, approached the watchman at the Hassan Bek mosque yesterday to warn him there would be “trouble” if repairs on the mosque were not halted. He reportedly asked the watchman if he knew that Jews were being “murdered” in the West Bank. According to police, one of the 17 persons detained in connection with the grenade incident answered the description given them by the eyewitnesses.

The Hassan Bek mosque was damaged during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. The ruined building was bought by a Jewish contractor several years ago and plans were to turn it into a tourist attraction and shopping center. But the former owners, the Wakf Moslem Property Association, later reneged on the deal and demanded that the mosque be restored as a house of worship.

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