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Ships Carrying 15,000 Immigrants Dock in Cyprus; 700 Others Break Throughblockeade

January 2, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The immigrant ships Pan York and Pan Crescent dropped anchor today in the harbor of Famagusta, Cyprus, and British authorities immediately began disembarking the store than 15,000 Jews aboard the two vessels, which had been renamed the Independence and the Re-Assembly of the Dispersed.

About the same time, 700 other immigrants landed at Naharia, just south of the Lebanese border, after their vessel, the United Nations, had broken through the British blockade. Troop reinforcements were rushed to Naharia, and cordoned off the landing area, but by the time they arrived only 200 persons were on the shore. Haganah sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that these 200 were Palestinians who had assisted in the disembarkation, and that all of the refugees had been successfully moved into the interior before the troops came on the scene.

Port authorities estimated that the disembarkation would take three days. Among the passengers are reported to be 1,700 children, more than half of them under the age of five. Four thousand ethers are said to be youths under the age of 17, while the bulk of the remainder are chalutzim. Six babies were born during the five-day voyage from Burgas, Bulgaria, and an additional 10 are expected momentarily.

British boarding parties said that the organization and medical arrangements on the two snipe were excellent, with 55 doctors among the refugees. At least one of the ships was commanded by an American in his twenties, apparently a Haganah volunteer. It was stated that refugees among the crews of the ships would be allowed to disembark at Cyprus, although the professional crews will be sent back.

(A Foreign Office spokesman said in London today that the ships, although sailing under no flag, following the Panamanian Government’s cancellation of their registry, bad committed no international offenses and had violated no immigration laws, since they did not enter Palestinian waters. He said it was probable that they would be allowed to leave Cyprus and would remain the property of their present owners.)

The vessels were boarded at sea yesterday by unite of the Royal Navy. Their captains are understood to have offered no objection to the British command that they put in at Cyprus. It is believed that the Jewish Agency was agreeable to this procedure, since it was unlikely that the vessels had any chance of evading the British blockade of Palestine.

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