LONDON (Jan. 20)
Scotland Yard is investigating machinegun attacks on two Jewish-owned West End hotels last night where seven women and one man were slightly injured by bullets and flying glass. A Yard spokesman said “It is a fair assumption that there is a connection between the two incidents.” Detectives were reportedly looking into possible anti-Semitic or anti-Israel aspects of the attacks.
More than 200 young Jews were attending a dance at the Portman Hotel when the attackers sprayed machinegun fire in the hotel restaurant. Three hours later machineguns were fired into the restaurant at the Carlton Towers Hotel where a Jewish wedding reception was being held. The Carlton Towers is owned by the Chinn family.
Rosser Chinn, the head of the family, is a former president of the Jewish National Fund of Britain and his son. Trevor, is deputy chairman of the Joint Israel Appeal. The Portman Hotel is frequented by El Al air crews on their stopovers in London. One El Al flight crew arrived at the hotel last night only 30 minutes after the attack.
Police are considering a possible link of last night’s attack to a similar assault five weeks ago on the Churchill Hotel which is also Jewish owned and adjacent to the Portman. Two Americans were hurt in the earlier attack. According to police, the attackers pulled up in front of the Portman in a red Rover car, fired their machineguns and sped away. The attack on the Carlton Towers was almost identical in method. The assailants abandoned their car several blocks from the hotel and escaped on motorcycles, police said.
While sources here said that the Irish Republican Army could not be ruled out completely for last night’s attacks, they pointed out that the IRA specializes in bombs, not machineguns.