Jerusalem (Jul. 28)
The three Irgunists doomed for participation in ## Acre jail break last May will be hanged tomorrow, it was announced tonight by ## government.
Menachem Beigin, commander of the Irgun, immediately announced that the two British soldiers kidnapped on July 13 as hostages would also be hanged. Earlier, it as reported that the two had been tried by a kangaroo court and found guilty of being members of “an occupying army illegally on Palestine soil.”
An Irgun statement issued tonight warned that “Palestine’s streets will run ## with British blood. We are starting our campaign now.”
The relatives of the condemned men, as well as their lawyers, have already left for Acre Prison, where the executions will take place. Among them is Edith Weiss, sister of one of the youths, who arrived here from Czechoslovakia three weeks ago.
Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog has communicated with the High Commissioner, appealing for clemency, but as yet has received no reply. The rabbinate at Haifa, meanwhile, has assigned rabbis to accompany the youths to the gallows and to arrange for their funerals.
The announcement of the sceduled executions cast a pall over the Jewish community. Surprise was expressed that the time of execution had been revealed in advance, since usual procedure is to notify only the next of kin and other persons directly involved. Some quarters interpreted it as an “invitation” to the Irgun to hang the hostages.
The three who are to die tomorrow are Abshalom Habib, 20; Jacob Ben Joseph Weiss, 23; and Meir Ben Kadoorie Nakar, 21. They were sentenced to death by a British military court on June 16, and the sentence was confirmed on July 12.
A section of Jerusalem and two Jewish settlements were today cordoned off as police hunted terrorists and continued to search for the two kidnapped sergeants. The northwestern suburban area of Jerusalem was cut off this morning and troops carried out an intensive man-hunt for persons responsible for attacks in the city during the last few days. Nine persons were detained for further interrogation.
In Kfar Saba and Ness Ziona, soldiers and police found no trace of the abucted men. The former settlement is in the Tel Aviv area, and the latter is in the ## district. All cordoning operations began at dawn.