A hand grenade hurled by Arab terrorists exploded on steps leading to the Patriarchs’ Tomb in Hebron today injuring 39 Jews who were praying at the site. Five were seriously hurt and were rushed to the Hadassah and Shaarey Zedek hospitals in Jerusalem. The other injured were reported out of danger. A live grenade found nearby was dismantled.
The explosion occurred at 4:15 p.m. local time, when the tomb and the Ibrahimi Mosque that stands above it are open to Jewish visitors and worshippers. There were no Moslem prayers going on in the mosque at the time. Civilians and soldiers on the square below the mosque helped evacuate the wounded and lifted them into ambulances. The most seriously hurt were flown by helicopter to Jerusalem for hospitalization.
The square is a shopping center, mainly for tourists. Within minutes after the explosion, Arab shopkeepers closed their shutters as bands of angered Israeli youths began to roam the streets in search of reprisal victims. Several young Arabs were beaten before police and military personnel restored order. The mosque area was sealed off tonight as police began a house-to-house search through the old market quarter of Hebron.
The grenade attack was the third terrorist assault on civilians in less than two months. Early last month, time bombs went off in the heart of downtown Jerusalem, injuring a dozen persons. Two weeks later, grenades exploded in the Tel Aviv central bus station, killing one man and injuring several civilians.
Ill feelings were generated in Hebron recently in a controversy over the rights of Jews to hold prayer services at the Patriarchs’ Tomb. Israel’s Defense Minister. Gen. Moshe Dayan, intervened personally and arranged with Moslem elders to permit Jews to hold Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at the site.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.