March 05, 1969 Middle East: Jerusalem Bomb Blast

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Issue Date: March 05, 1969

Middle East:
Jerusalem Bomb Blast

An Arab terrorist bomb heavily damaged the British Consulate in East Jerusalem February 25. [See 1969 Middle East: Jerusalem Bomb Blast]

The blast caused slight injury to a consulate secretary. British officials said they believed Arab guerrillas had decided to attack British targets because of "highly exaggerated" reports that Britain was planning to sell tanks to Israel. The East Jerusalem consulate had been the target of an unsuccessful bomb attack February 21. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine February 25 claimed responsibility for the bombing. The PFLP said it had decided on the attack because of the alleged British decision to supply Israel with tanks.

A bomb exploded in Lydda, Israel February 25, injuring one person. Three Arabs were detained for questioning. One of them was said to have been carrying the bomb on a tricycle and it was believed to have detonated accidentally. The rider was wounded.

Israeli police March 1 announced the arrest of 40 Arabs suspected of being involved in the February 21 Jerusalem supermarket explosion in which two Israelis had been killed. All were said to be PFLP members and some were suspected of having taken part in the attacks on the British Consulate in East Jerusalem. An Israeli spokesman said police in the past few days had discovered "a number of political and sabotage cells of the front" in Jerusalem and in the west-bank town of Ramallah.

Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban February 25 defended the Israeli air strike the previous day against two suspected Arab commando bases in Syria [See 1969 Middle East: Jerusalem Bomb Blast]. He compared it with raiding "an S.S. [Nazi] camp or a training depot of the guards of the Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II."

Israeli planes attacked three Jordanian villages February 25 after Arab guerrillas had fired on an Israeli army patrol across the Jordan River. One of the villages struck was Manshiyeh, south of the Sea of Galilee. Jordan claimed that four Israeli jets later strafed Al Safi and Fifeh, south of the Dead Sea, and Israeli tanks and artillery shelled the two villages for nearly an hour.

An Israeli army patrol clashed with a guerrilla band February 26 in the Jordan Valley. One Israeli soldier was killed and two others were wounded.

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