JERUSALEM (Jul. 26)
Twelve Arabs were killed today and a soldier wounded in a heavy engagement near a Government forest on the Jerusalem-Jaffa road, it was officially announced.
Army planes, speeding to the assistance of troops attacked by Arabs, dropped four bombs on the band. The soldiers were fired on while investigating the cause of a fire that had broken out in the forest. The injured soldier was a private of the Dorsetshire regiment. Ten rifles and a quantity of ammunition were confiscated.
The new deaths raised to twenty the toll of weekend disorders. Approximately 180 Britons, Jews and Arabs have been killed in the current disturbances, which entered their fifteenth week today.
Government forces took precautions to preserve order tomorrow when Arabs observe the hundredth day of their strike against the Jews and the Government. Police arrested a number of agitators as tension reached its highest point in predominantly-Arab Jaffa since the outbreak of current disorders.
The British destroyer H-58 captured an Arab boat smuggling arms off a ship anchored on the high seas. Suspicious Arab movements along the Mediterranean shore, particularly at night, were reported.
Peasants said to possess bombs were secretly entering Jerusalem from various parts of the country and bivouacking near approaches to the Wailing Wall to prevent Jews from passing it in their traditional procession, which had been scheduled for tomorrow evening, in observance of the beginning of the Fast of Tisha B’Av.
The peasants’ convergence on Jerusalem was in response to a call from Haj Amin el Husseini, the Grand Mufti, posted throughout the country, urging Arabs to “defend the holy places against the Jews.”
Jews will break a centuries-old custom in shunning the wall, one of the last remnants of the ancient temple, in their Tisha B’Av procession, which marks the destruction of the temple by the Chaldeans in 586 B.C. The site is holy both to Jews and Arabs.
The Jewish National Council and the Agudath Israel, extreme orthodox organization jointly ordered the Jews to avoid nearing the wall. The authorities yesterday issued orders to the chief rabbinate prohibiting a procession to the wall since the route would follow the tortuous streets of the Old City quarter where attacks might occur.
In apparent determination to prevent an outbreak of violence as a result of the coincidence of the Jewish holiday with the Arab strike observance, the Government augmented military forces. Two detachments were stationed at Beit Vegan.
A number of bomb explosions occurred in Jaffa. In Lifta, after a thorough search for arms carried out by Government forces, a Government employee was arrested with four rifles and a quantity of ammunition in his possession.
A delegation from the Arab Supreme Committee headed by the Grand Mufti left for Amman, Transjordan, to confer with Emir Abdullah, Arab ruler of Transjordan, at the latter’s invitation. The Emir has been exerting his influence with the Palestine Arabs for cessation of terrorism.
High Commissioner Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope today expressed the hope that Police Inspector-General Roy G.B. Spicer would take measures to prevent repetition of the bombing of a Jewish religious school in Tel Aviv last Thursday in which seven children were injured.
In reply to a protest from Isaac Ben Zvi, head of the Jewish National Council, Sir Arthur gave assurances that he deeply regretted the incident and that he was glad there was no loss of life. Two Arabs have been arrested in connection with the bombing.
Eight Arabs were slain in encounters with British troops in various parts of the Holy Land yesterday. Four other Arabs were wounded, two of them seriously, by premature explosion of their own bombs. The authorities arrested nineteen Arabs on charges of intimidation and possession of arms.
Traffic was interrupted for an entire day when a freight train was derailed by Arabs near Raselein.
Meanwhile censorship of the press, in effect almost since the disorders started on April 19, was lifted by the authorities.
A Jewish watchman, Israel Wertheim, 29, at the Kadoorie Agricultural School on Mt. Tabor was reported accidentally shot and killed by a fellow employee.
A crowd of Arab boys, one of them shooting a revolver, attacked two Palestine constables in Jerusalem. There were no casualties.
A bomb explosion broke a water pipe feeding Jerusalem. The explosion, which occurred at Ataroth, near Jerusalem, was followed by fire.
Arabs destroyed 500 trees in groves at Yakhin.