Israel Cabinet Holds Emergency Meeting on Syrian Artillery Attack
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Israel Cabinet Holds Emergency Meeting on Syrian Artillery Attack

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Premier David Ben Gurion convened an emergency meeting of the Cabinet in this city today to consider the situation following yesterday’s vicious artillery barrage laid down by Syrian guns on Israeli border villages in the Huleh region.

At the conclusion of the session, it was announced that Israel would demand a Security Council session to deal with the recent series of murderous “incidents” on the Syrian frontier. Gen. Chaim Laskow, Army Chief of Staff, was one of the participants in today’s Cabinet conference.

Maj. Gen. Carl won Horn, United Nations truce chief, had been summoned to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the Syrian attack. A Ministry spokesman said later that the General had recognized the gravity of the situation and had promised to take action. Israeli circles expressed the belief that the UN truce chief sees that matters are moving toward an explosion.

A total of nine settlements were hit by the Syrian artillery fire in which Assaf Filler, 25, of Mishmar Hasharan, near Natanya, was killed. The three villages hardest hit were Kibbutz Shamir, Hulatah and Lehavot Habashan.


A Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent, touring the shelled villages, today saw the work of years literally shot to bits. Homes were evacuated after roofs were blasted off and walls knocked askew. Tens of homes which yesterday had sheltered families of men, women and children were today abandoned shells.

Army officers said that some 800 Syrian shells exploded in the Hulatah area alone in one hour of shooting, aimed mainly at settlers’ houses and cowsheds. They added it was a miracle that the casualties were so light because the shelling started suddenly at a time when children of the villages usually set out to meet parents returning from work in the fields.

The Syrians continued sporadic firing through the night, apparently to prevent any retaliatory fire from the Israelis but no further damage was reported in the Israel target area. An examination of shell splinters and unexploded shells indicated that the ammunition was of Russian manufacture. The Syrians reportedly used Russian-made 120-milli-meter guns and 81 and 60-millimeter mortars.

Israel officials were understood to be deeply concerned over the Syrian attacks which were mounting in severity. Israel press editorials blamed the United Nations today and said the situation had deteriorated because of UN failure to take energetic action when the first Syrian attacks occurred. The Central Committee of the left-wing Achdut Avodah party demanded today that the government take measures to protect the Israel workers and territory because of the “failure” of the United Nations to do so.

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