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Raiding Squads Arrest Hundreds of Jews in Jerusalem Following Bombings; Terrorists Seized

January 21, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jerusalem remained under a rigid curfew today as police and military raiding squads rounded up hundreds of persons for questioning in connection with blasts and rioting last night in which at least two persons–one British police officer and one Jew–were killed and five wounded, of whom four were Jews.

Both the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Group issued leaflets declaring that last night’s attacks were a joint action aimed at freeing members of their organizations being held in the Central Prison, which is located in the Russian Compound, scene of the bombing of the Criminal Investigation Department’s headquarters, last month.

An official police communique, issued this afternoon, said that the terrorist attacks were directed against the Palestine Broadcasting System, which was forced off the air by damage to a power house near the prison. The leaflets, however, said that the main attack was aimed at the prison, while all others were camouflage, with the object of drawing the guards away from the jail.

A later communique said that during today’s searches, a suspected terrorist with wounds in his chest and one hard, had been arrested. A quantity of arms and ammunition were seized, including three gasoline bombs, eight pistols, three Sten guns, two Bren guns, a tommy-gun, and a bloodstained knapsack and clothing. The communique added that it is believed that at least eight of the persons detained today were implicated in yesterday’s attacks.


The terrorist groups’ leaflets said that last night’s actions were necessary, because the Palestine Government was planning to deport more Jewish prisoners to Eritrea. They appealed to the Jewish community for understanding, “especially after the recent events” in Eritrea, where two Jews were killed last week during a disturbance in a special Jewish internment camp set up by the British. “Until the Palestine Government changes its custom of deporting, there is no hope our attacks will cease,” the leaflets concluded. Similar sentiments were expressed in leaflets scattered in Tel Aviv and Ramath Gan last night where several “leaflet bombs” were exploded.

Last night’s violence here began about 8:30 p.m., when explosives blasted the electric power station. Immediately after the explosion, sirens were sounded throughout the city, halting all passenger and vehicular traffic, and police and military patrols engaged a party of armed Jews converging on the PBS studios, during which several of the latter were wounded. Simultaneously, another explosion damaged part of the wall of the Central Prison.

From the point of view of the terrorists, the attacks were a failure, since they were driven off before they could rescue any of their jailed members and relatively little damage was inflicted, although the PBS did not come back on the air until this morning, and regularly scheduled programs were still not being broadcast. The small amount of damage is a result of the fact that police and military units were expecting an outbreak of some sort, in retaliation for the occurrence in Eritrea.

The most serious British casualties were Assistant Superintendent of Police W.P. Jelson, who was killed by the explosion of a mine, many of which were strewn about the area which was attacked, and District Police Superintendent Geoffrey H. Rano, who was wounded in both legs in an exchange of fire with three men near the prison wall. Rano was brought to Hadassah Hospital in a taxi driven by Jacob Ben-David, who, himself, had received a head wound. Another taxi, driven by Itzhak Chananieh, who was also wounded, arrived at the hospital about an hour later with a dead Jew, who has not yet been identified. The dead man had a pistol strapped to his body and a haversack containing bullets, grenades and a stick of explosive. The other Jewish casualties have not yet been identified.

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