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Sternists Blast Palestine Rail Lines As Irgun Declares Truce Pending U.N. Decision

May 16, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

While the Irgun today announced cessation of terrorist activities in favor of “political work” until Palestine’s political status has been clarified, the Stern Group last night and this morning blasted three railed bridges and two trains and planted mines in various sections of the rail system between central and northern Palestine, forcing discontinuance of rail service on the northern part of the country, and causing damage estimated at $40,000.

The Irgun announcement followed disclosure yesterday that the underground organization had sent a memorandum to member states of the U.N. appealing for a Jewish state. The announcement and the explosions came a few hours after the introduction of a Norwegian resolution at the United Nations General Assembly session ?lling for a truce in the Holy Land during the investigations of the inquiry committee and until the U.N. had ruled on the country’s status.

Two British lieutenants were killed and two other officers and a soldier were seriously injured this morning when a landmine which they were attempting to ?smantle exploded. The blast occurred on the Haifa-Acre rail line, near the better city.


One person was injured when a mine blew up under a special train transporting 800 workers to a military camp near Haifa. The engine and two cars were {SPAN}##railed and about 100 feet of track was torn up by the explosion which took place near Bat Galim, on the outskirts of Jaffa. An engineer of a freight train was hurt lightly when it was derailed near Rehovoth.{/SPAN}It was revealed this morning that three rail bridges were severely damaged {SPAN}##{/SPAN} the Hadera area last night by landmines. A fourth bridge in the same vicinity {SPAN}##{/SPAN} also mined, but the explosives failed to detonate. A number of mines were around near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and were removed by British engineer troops. railway officials hope to be able to resume service late tonight, following clearing of wrecks and extensive repair work.

Jerusalem had a false alarm this morning which threw British troops into an uproar. A general alarm was sounded, and hurriedly mustered troops in armored cars surrounded an Arab cemetery near the King David Hotel following a minor explosion. Investigation revealed that several Arab children had discovered a parachute flare and were playing with it when it exploded. Miraculously, none of the children were injured by the flare or by shots fired at them by the soldiers. Some observers believe that the flare was hidden in the graveyard by Arab extremists.


An official communique announced the establishment of permanent military courts in the Jerusalem, Haifa and Lydda districts to deal with a variety of minor violations of the Emergency Defense Regulations. The courts, which will be opened Monday, will have the power of imposing fines up to $800 and prison sentences up to two years. The communique pointed out that they are not intended to replace either the normal jurisdiction of civil courts or of higher military courts, some of which have the power of imposing death sentences.

Infractions on which the new summary courts will rule include underground publication of political matter, breaking of curfews, interference with the police, misleading acts or misrepresentation involving the police forces, obtaining and recording of government or military documents and possession of information concerning illegal arms or explosives. Also subornation of policemen, use of propaganda prejudicial to public safety or maintenance of order, dealing in arms belonging to the military or police forces, unlawful escape from custody, intimidation of police or troops and possession or control of radio transmission facilities.

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