Three Jews Killed, Fifty Wounded As British Troops Invade Jewish Villages
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Three Jews Killed, Fifty Wounded As British Troops Invade Jewish Villages

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At least three Jews were killed and fifty wounded today when an estimated 15,000 British troops, using tanks, tear gas, mortars and machine-guns, invaded five Jewish settlements in a search for hidden arms and "illegal" Jewish immigrants.

No arms were discovered and no illegal entrants were found, the first official communique admitted. But hand-to-hand fighting lasting more than two hours broke out between the settlers and troops of the British Sixth Airborne Division when the soldiers smashed their way into the settlements of Shefayim, Givat Haim, Ein Hakhoresh, Sishpun and Kfar Shmaryahu.

The troops used staves and tear gas to force an entry. Many persons were wounded, including women. When the Jews were overpowered, the troops began erecting barbed vire enclosures into which they placed everyone for identification, separating men and women.

In the town of Petach-Tikvah, several miles away from Shefayim, criers went through the streets shouting: "All Jews to the rescus." As a result, thousands began to stream towards Shefayim. A 19-year-old Jewish youth from Petach Tikvah was shot dead as he tried to enter Rishpun.


About 2,000 military vehicles were used in the operations against the Jewish settlers. Within a few hours the Beilison hospital near Petach Tikvah was crowded with wounded. Others were diverted to the Hadassah hospital in Tel Aviv. General E. L. Bols, commander-in-chief of the 6th Airborne Division, visited what he termed "the Palestine battlefront" to witness the operations of his troops.

Two of the colonies – Givat Haim and Ein Hakhoresh – appealed this afternoon for blood donors and for medical aid. A report from Givat Haim said that at least fifteen settlers suffered severe injuries and two were killed.

The first violence developed at Shefayim, when a British officer called on the head of the settlement at 5:30 this morning and demanded that he guarantee that the 615 inhabitants would keep the peace, as troops were about to enter the village. The head of the settlement refused. Whereupon the officer announced to the population through loud speakers that the settlement was under curfew. However, the inhabitants told the commanding officer that they would ignore the curfew. The dispute continued until 7:15 when the loud speakers broadcast a "last warning," which was followed by a charge by soldiers armed with clubs, backed by other groups with fixed bayonets, both hidden under a smoke screen. During the attack, a number of women and children were injured.

At Rishpun and Kfar Shmaryahu, which are near Shefayim, a similar procedure was followed. The heads of the settlements reiterated their refusal early this mor ning to permit the entry of units of the troops which had been besieging the colonies since yesterday afternoon with the assistance of tanks, armered cars and airplanes. There was no shooting at Rishpun, but latest reports indicate that the inhabitants are under guard and soldiers are conducting a house to house serach. The inhabitants offered no resistance.


At Givat Hain, troops opened fire into a crowd of Jewish settlers who tried to break the military cordon around the village. Several Jews were seriously wounded. In addition to its permanent residents, Givat Haim is filled with hundreds of Jews from the nearby town of Hedera, who flocked there yesterday, when troops were reported appresching, Two truckloads of Jewish workers who were returning from plants in the zeighboring township of Nathanya to their homes at Givat Haim were fired upon by troops patrolling the roads and two were wounded. A third truck was fired on when the passengers did not alight as rapidly as the soldiers desired. A Red Mogen David ambulance which was summoned to give first aid to the wounded was detained and its cosupents arrested.

In the meantime, military authorities placed a large section of the Palestine coast, north of Tel Aviv, under curfew. In an effort to check "illegal" Jewish immigration more effectively, the authorities have also begun erecting four new radar stations on Mt. Gerizim, on Moab Hill, in the Dead Sea area, and "somewhere on the Mediteranean seashore."


Tension was mounting in Tel Aviv today as the news of the British invasion of the Jewish settlements reached the city. Many Jewish workers laid down their tools and reshed on trucks and afoot to Givat Haim and other nearby settlements. They were joined by workers from other settlements and by Jewish youths. However, they were presented from reaching the invaded colonies by troops guarding the roads. Last night, inhabitants of Tel Aviv lined the road between the city and Herzlia in defiance of the coastal curfew.

Yesterday morning, two Jewish-manned fishing boats and their crews of 12 were detained for allegedly participating in the landing Friday morning of 200 immigrants from the Greek schooner Demetros. The twelve were sent to the latrun detention camp, where the British have confined an unknown number of suspected terrorists. Thirteen other persons are reported to have been arrested along the shore between Herzlia and Nathanya on suspicion that they were illegal entrants.

Campt. Petros Warlamas, master of the Demetrios, and his crew of five, were taken before a magistrate in Haifa this morning and charged with bringing Jews into the country illegally. They were remanded for fifteen days for further interrogation, but were allowed to contact the Greek consul.

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