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Police Smash Plot to Bomb German Reparations Ships in Haifa Port

September 8, 1953
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli police made a number of arrests today among former members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Group in connection with an alleged plot to blow up freighters anchored in Haifa port carrying reparations goods from Germany.

Today’s arrests followed the seizure Sunday of Ben-Zion Hartman, young reporter for the newspaper Herut, organ of the right-wing Herut Party which strongly opposed the reparations agreement with West Germany. Hartman was apprehended in the port area carrying a time-bomb.

Hartman, according to police sources, confessed to participation in a plot to destroy the reparations goods and allegedly implicated a number of others, some of whom were arrested in today’s round-up. Among them were a man named Shamir, described as chief commander of the Betar, right-wing youth organization, and a man named Elkayam, described as a former Stern Group member. Hartman, according to police sources, confessed that Shamir had instructed him to carry the bomb into the port and deliver it to Elkayam.

One of the freighters which would have been targets for the attack was reported today to have in its cargo arms and ammunition for the Israeli Army.

The Herut Party disassociated itself today from the alleged plot which it strongly condemned. The party statement recalled the declaration of its leader, Menachem Beigin, that the fight against German reparations should be carried on only through parliamentary action.

A second military trial will open at the Sarafand camp tomorrow when Zev Yevin and Reuben Peretz stand trial on charges of “participating in an illegal terrorist organization.” Thirteen others were previously convicted of participating in the organization.

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