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Four Jews Killed when British Forces Battle Palestine Extremists; Policeman Dies in Haifa

November 13, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Four Jews died today in a one sided battle between British troops and a dozen Jewish young men and women near Herzlia, It was the first major outbreak of violence in more than a month.

Earlier, one British policeman was killed and three seriously wounded when they were attacked by a group of Jews in Haifa. This action apparently was in retaliation for the sentencing this morning of two Sternists to 20-year sentences for illegal possession of arms and explosives.

The first incident occurred at 11 a.m. on the Herzlia road, south of Raanana, when a party of police and troops came upon a group of young Jews who were apparently undergoing training by one of the underground groups. Jewish sources insist that the British opened fire without warning, killing three men and a gril, wounding four others and capturing the remainder of the group–all without one shot having been fired by the Jews.

An official communique issued late tonight says that a search party entering a house between the two towns found a group of Jewish men and women training in one of the rooms. The British say that one of the Jews raised his rifle and, in Hebrew, ordered the others to fire. The communique insists that the troops withdrew from the building followed closely by the Jews who opened fire. The troops returned the fire, killing and wounding members of the party, without any casualties being inflicted on the Britons.

According to an eye-witness account given the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent in Tel Aviv, who visited the scene of the shooting a few hours afterwards, 1,000 heavily-armed troops accompanied by tanks and armored vehicles cordoned off the area and parties of about 100 men surrounded the main house and searched it. Finding nothing, several officers and sergeants entered a near-by building where they found a number of Jews and withdrew hastily.

The troops moved back until they had the house surrounded at a distance of about 100 yards and then set up their automatic weapons. The Jews in the house forced open the windows, attempting to escape. However, the troops fired on them and overpowered the party with no opposition, the witness said.

A partial list of the casualties includes the names of the dead: Jacob Singer, of Petach Tikvah; Shalom Narkowsky, 17, of Tel Aviv; Jacob Davidowtiz and his wife. The last two were tenants in the building. Yehudith Cohen, 16, was seriously wounded and Nimroda Littino was captured.

The police communique adds that after the action, a young man carrying a rifle and tommy gun was captured in a grove near the house. It also states that a quantity of arms was found in the house, including hand grenades, rifles, bayonets, one Sten gun and one Bren gun.

Although the official version does not describe what happended after the battle’s end, it was learned that a large number of persons living in the neighborhood were rounded up and questioned, and two were removed to Jaffa.

The Haifa attack was launched from the roof of a building overlooking a popular cafe on the Kingsway, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. Following a single fusillade of shots, four of five policemen sitting in a group dropped to the floor. The fifth came through unscathed. Their assailants escaped.

The two Sternists, whose sentencing seems to have precipitated the raid, are Eliahu Ishan, 17, and Haim Eckhauser, 22. They were arrested August 10 with two hand grenades, firearms and ammunition in their possession.

The Irgun today broadcast a pledge not to use arms to frustrate an international settlement, nor to oppose a Jewish authority which may accept partition. However, the dissident group warned that it would use other means of expressing its opposition. Some circles interpret the broadcast as a sign that an internal truce may be impending.


The Palestine Government today amended the Emergency Defense Regulations to make it unlawful for a newspaperman to interview a member of an underground group. The amendment states that any correspondent having contact with, or possessing pamphlets or other literature of unlawful organizations for the purpose of publicizing their views or activities is liable to prosecution.

The new regulation was published in the Official Gazette. It follows a number of interviews with leaders of the Stern Group and the Irgun Zvai Leumi by foreign correspondents, notably Americans.

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