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Reported Entry of Arab Terrorist Chief Stirs Military Activity; Band Leader Slain

May 9, 1938
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British military forces, after killing Issa Battat, notorious Arab terrorist leader, were aroused to new activity today by a renewal of violence and information that Fawzi Bey el Kaukaji, Syrian bandleader, had reentered Palestine heading a strong band.

Coincident with an exploratory tour of central Palestine by Britain’s Partition Commission, it was reported that troops, Royal Air Force planes and police had made thorough searches in the Jenin-Nablus-Tulkarem triangle, suspended traffic, imposed curfew from seven p.m. to four a.m and occupied several villages.

Shortly before the commission’s visit to Nablus, a band concealed in the surrounding hills fired a fusillade into army barracks. Troops replied with cannon and machine-guns. An Arab attempted to shoot a lock-up keeper, but his revolver jammed. An Arab band launched a strong attack on a military unit of 100 near Zita. The troops replied, wounding three bandsmen, one of whom was removed to the Government hospital in Haifa, while the others escaped.

Battat, on whose head the Government had set a high price for complicity in the murder of J.L. Starkey, British archaeologist, and other crimes, was killed at dawn yesterday in a sharp battle when a police squadron surprised a large band camping in the Vicinity of Hebron. The police had been seeking the band for several days. The band was dispersed after a two-hour engagement. The police suffered no casualties.

The Partition Commission visited the Assistant-District Commissioner, toured Government lands at Wadi Giftlik and later proceeded to Jericho.

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