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Israeli Official Says Press Stories About Fire, Threats, Were Erroneous

January 24, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Shimshon Inbal. Consul General of Israel, said yesterday that news reports in the local and international press dealing with the fire here last week that destroyed the building in which the Israeli Consulate was located, and reports that he and his family had been threatened by the Black September movement “were erroneous and misleading,” and were circulated “before the facts were checked with me.”

In a statement released to the press, Inbal said that the reports can “to some extent” be explained but “not justified by the fact that for three days the Consulate General’s switchboard was out of operation and my telephone is unlisted.” He noted that the fire that destroyed the Israel and Irish Consulates, a bank, a men’s clothing store and a school “could have happened because of many reasons. There is no substantive reason to believe that it was the result of terrorist activity directed at this Consulate General.”

There were several news reports that the fire may have been started by an arsonist or by members of the Black September movement and that the target was the offices of the Consulate General of Israel. A report in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Daily News Bulletin Jan. 17 noted that it was unlikely that the fire was a deliberate attempt to destroy the Israeli offices. According to Inbal’s statement, “it appears that the fire was sparked in a part of the office building which is quite removed from our offices.” Since the blaze last week, fire officials have indicated that there is no evidence of arson.

Continuing, Inbal in his statement said that news reports. “which were reprinted in The New York Times to the effect that threats were directed against the families of two Israeli Consulate officials living in Brookline (a suburb of Boston), is completely erroneous. No threats have been directed against me or my family either by the Black September or any other terrorist organization, nor have I reported any such threat to the Brookline police.”

Inbal expressed gratitude to the Brookline police department for “giving us whatever protection was deemed necessary, by way of normal-precautionary measures” and for the efforts of the police department “to watch Israeli children, which they are doing with worthwhile dedication.”

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