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Jordanians Reportedly Are Backing King Hussein in Crackdown on Terrorists

February 20, 1968
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King Hussein of Jordan apparently had the support today of his subjects in a campaign to halt Arab terrorist incursions against Israel from Jordanian territory. According to eye-witness accounts by travellers arriving here from Amman this morning, Jordanians, including refugees from the West Bank, demonstrated there against “foreign elements” who care nothing about the problems of the Jordanian people. Amman newspapers headlined an announcement by Interior Minister Hassan Al Kayed that Jordanian security forces seized two large arms caches near Aqaba, Jordan’s only seaport, which is adjacent to the Israeli port of Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba. The newspapers also reported that a hunt is on for the leaders and members of the Syrian-trained El Fatah gangs that have used Jordan for months as a base for raids against Israel. At one point, a mob almost lynched suspected El Fatah members as they were being led to a police station, eye-witnesses said. There were no other reports of arrests.

(Reports from Beirut, Lebanon, said that the El Fatah terrorist organization has announced that it will defy King Hussein’s anti-terrorist decrees and that it would allow no regime to halt guerrilla raids on Israel. According to the dispatch, an El Fatah spokesman in Damascus said today that “the objective of Fatah has been and still is to operate in occupied lands for the liberation of Palestine.”)

The arms discovered at Aqaba, probably concealed there for future use against Israel by El Fatah, consisted of 250 machine guns, some anti-tank weapons and large quantities of ammunition. King Hussein, in an address over Amman radio on Friday following Israel’s acceptance of his appeal for a cease-fire, promised to halt terrorist raids into Israel from Jordan and to punish those who ignored his orders. “I shall not allow anyone to supply the enemy with pretexts and justifications for aggression,” he said.

(Writing in the London Evening Standard today, Jon Kimche said that Hussein’s denunciation of terrorists, in defiance of Cairo and Damascus, was “not as foolhardy as it might appear” because the Jordanian monarch “was assured the fullest support of both the Soviet Union and the United States in making this stand for a political settlement with Israel.”)


Chief of Staff Brigadier Chaim Bar-Lev briefed the cabinet here yesterday about the security situation and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan reported on last week’s fighting along the Israel-Jordan border following Jordanian shelling of Israeli settlements there. Foreign Minister Abba Eban assessed the results of diplomatic efforts proceeding the Thursday clash and the situation in Jordan which followed it.

Gen. Dayan informed the cabinet that he cancelled his visit to the United States last week because of security reasons. His visit may take place later but no dates have been set, it was learned.

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