TEL AVIV (Aug. 23)
A new grave was opened this morning alongside those of the Munich Olympic massacre victims for Irit Gidron, the 29-year-old El Al flight attendant who was killed in the Arab terrorist attack in London last Sunday. Among the mourners were her mother and father, twin sister and brother and hundreds of El Al personnel and friends of the family and of Ms. Gidron.
The coffin carrying her body arrived last night on an El Al plane from London. Following a brief solemn ceremony and the reading of a psalm by an army chaplain, the coffin was placed on an Army Burial Society command car and, flanked by an honor guard composed of El Al stewards in uniform, it was taken to the morgue for the night.
This morning the coffin was brought to the Kfar Galim settlement near Haifa where she had resided, to begin the solemn procession to the municipal cemetery on the slopes of Mount Carmel. Minister of Communications and Transport Meir Arnit, representing the government, delivered the eulogy. He hailed El Al employees as true emissaries of Israel, guarding the front line for from Israeli soil, and blamed the governments of all nations for permitting, by their apathy and inaction, the cancer of terrorism to spread throughout the world.
SCENE OF ATTACK DESCRIBED
Meanwhile, Ms. Gidron’s colleagues described the scene of the attack and the circumstances of her death. They recalled that, as one of the terrorists opened fire on the bus with a machine gun Ms. Gidron made a dash for the hotel’s entrance. At the same moment, however, a second attacker rushed forward to hurl hand grenades into the hotel lobby where the Israelis had congregated. The two collided, setting off the hand grenade and killing both of them.
Upon his arrival in Israel last night, Mashe Parness, the purser of the El Al group of flight attendants, said, “We are not heroes. We are lucky to be alive.” In a voice trembling with emotion, he added, “We were twenty-one. Now only eighteen have returned.”
All but one of the Israeli survivors of the attack have returned to Israel. The condition of El Al flight attendant Yehudit Arnon, who remained at the London Middlesex Hospital, has improved considerably after the removal of a bullet from her brain. Ms. Arnon, whose life was thought to be in danger, is now breathing with out the aid of a life support system and has spoken and recognized her parents. The other injured flight attendants are Michal Ungar and Yael Cohen.
El Al’s general director, Mordechai Hod, said upon welcoming the crew members, “We are proud of you. We are angry and despise the way the European governments deal with terrorism.”