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Furious Fighting Continues in Hebron Hills; 17 More Jews Killed Near Kfar Etzion

January 19, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Kfar Etzion battle, which was opened by the Arabs in the middle of last week, raged for many hours this week-end as numerous bands of Arabs attacked Jewish defenders in and around the settlement. Observers stated that the battle was probably the fiercest thus far in the war which today entered its seventh week. Seventeen Jews were reported killed today in the Hebron Hills.

Following prolonged negotiations between Jewish leaders and British authorizes, the latter finally decreed that 35 Jews killed in an Arab ambush Friday night will be buried in Kfar Etzion instead of Jerusalem where the Jews wished their bodies ?ought. Services will probably be held tomorrow afternoon.

One of the members of the Haganah unit was Moshe Perlstein, an American citizen. Perlstein, a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who came to this country under the G.I, Bill of Rights, was a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The 35, all but three of whom were members of the Haganah sent to reinforce the beleaguered settlers at Kfar Etzion, were wiped out to the last man and their bodies were not recovered until yesterday. “Various reports place the Arab casualties in the fray at between four and 60 killed. The government insists that only four Arab bodies were found in the same vicinity as the 35 Jews, while some Jewish sources assert that they have found out that three score Arabs were killed and their bodies removed before the British arrived on the scene.

Last night, meanwhile, several battles were fought between Jews and Arabs at ?eth Jamal and Hartuf, in the same vicinity. The Haganah lost two men killed and a member wounded, but inflicted scores of casualties on Arab units, at least one of which numbered over 100 men. A party of Arab reinforcement was fired upon by Jews and turned back after several Arabs were wounded.


This morning a Jewish convoy heading for Tel Aviv from Jerusalem was attached at Motza, about five miles from Jerusalem. Two Jews were killed and seven wounded. In Jerusalem itself at least one Jew was murdered today by Arab guerrillas. The body ?f the Jew, Mordechai Admoni, was mutilated and his body was partially burned before ?t was found by police. An unidentified Jewish male was found near Haifa with the head severed from the body and removed from the scene.

The Haganah today renewed its attacks on snipers’ posts in and around Jerusalem. Several buildings were blown up in the Sheikh Jarach quarter and Beth Safafa. with the latter community, the Jews had been negotiating a truce which fell through. Then the Arabs resumed their sniping at Jews and Jewish traffic, the Haganah went into action. The Arabs at Beth Safafa have since asked for and received the protection of British troops.

Similar actions were taken in the Tel Arisb quarter of Jaffa on the Tel Aviv border line and in the Lake Huleh region of northern Palestine where several notorious ?eikhs who had been leading guerrilla bands were killed in the “blasts. Arab sources ##veal that some 500 Arab unit leaders met in Nablus this week-end to plan their war strategy in all parts of Palestine.

The situation in Haifa seems to have become somewhat quieter since the Haganah’s attacks late last week against the headquarters of several Arab organizations which were apparently the centers for military operations. However, both Arab and Jewish workers who have to travel through the city to reach their jobs are rewriting to work either in armored cars or under the escort of heavily-armed troop ?its. Although the citrus crop is being loaded in the port area, some 80 passengers ?stined for Palestine are still aboard the Rumanian liner Transylvania where they are marooned by the deadly fighting last week.


The Irgun underground radio station, “Voice of Fighting Zion,” tonight called the Jewish community to prepare itself to launch an all-out counter-offensive against the Arabs after May 15, the date on which the British are scheduled to surrender the Palestine Mandate. The announcer called for “unity” among all Jewish lighting forces in order to foil “British obstruction plans” aimed at preventing the establishment of a Jewish state.

The authorities have announced that they are again reverting to the practice destroying buildings from which attacks are launched on British troops and police was disclosed that two houses, one owned by Jews and the other by Arabs, were destroyed yesterday after snipers fired on soldiers, killing one.

The government also announced that units of the Transjordan Frontier Force, Palestine Arab troops serving under British officers, have been withdrawn from duty the northern border of Palestine,The announcement said that reports of the possibility of attacks on the northern sector from outside the country which would be heavy for this corps to withstand, was responsible for the decision to withdraw force and replace it with British troops.

Meanwhile, reports from Damascus reveal that a large, well-trained and well-dipped Arab force has been collected in the Syrian capital and will shortly be sent Palestine. The same reports state that Lebanese Defense Minister Mejid Arslan left for the Lebanese-Palestine border to “inspect” his troops stationed there.

Late tonight Jewish authorities released the names of the Haganah members ?shed and wiped out Friday night in the Hebren Eills. The list of names follows: ?el, David Aah, Joseph Baruch, Yehuda Bitenski, Jacob Benattar, Benzion Ben?, Oded Benjamin, Beni Bugoslaveky, Eytan Bass, Jacob Caspi, Alexander Cohen, ?d Dabari, Hayim Engel, Sabu Goland, Itzhak Halevi, Eliahu Westlovitz, Yechiel ?v, Joseph Kupler, Turia Kushner, Jacob Kitik, Yona Levin, Abraham Lustig, Dani ?, Amnon Michaeli, Eliahu Mizrachi, Baruch Pat, Benjamin Persitz, Moshe Perlatein, ?l Pnsuli, Daniel Reich, Jacob Shaueli, David Zvebner, Jacob Zebuloni and a set? from Revadim identified as “Itzhak.”

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