Explosions rock port of Haifa; fate of Jewish refugees debated

JERUSALEM, Feb. 28, 1947 (UP)-A series of powerful explosions rocked the harbor area of Haifa today a few hours after a refugee ship carrying 1,350 uncertified immigrants was grounded off the nearby Palestine coast.

Two Jews were killed and one British trooper and one Transjordan Frontier Force man were wounded seriously when explosives wrecked the safe rooms of Barclay's Bank in the heart of the Haifa port area.


Three blasts in the series were believed to be from bombs or land mines timed to explode with the expected arrival of the refugee ship, the Haim Arlosorov, in Haifa harbor.

Reports circulated that the ship had an American crew. Officials denied it, saying refugees aboard had started the reports in hope of avoiding seizure by the British navy.

The case of the refugees was taken to the Palestine Supreme Court, which ordered British officials to show cause why they should not be allowed to land.

The court's show-cause order, the second it has issued in the long smouldering dispute over the legal status of Jewish refugees arriving without credentials, in effect prevented the British from moving the ship outside Haifa.

The Supreme Court order paralleled that in a similar case some months ago. At that time the court ruled in favor of the British, who sent the refugees on to Cyprus.


The hearing was set for next Tuesday.

The Supreme Court acted on the petition for a writ of habeas corpus by Attorney David Goitein, who pleaded that deportation of immigrants was illegal.

Goitein asked the court to order the Navy to produce at least 20 refugees on the date when Army and police officers appear in court.

The court refused to let the refugees be brought before it "unless this seems necessary in the event respondents fail to satisfy the court of the legality of their action."

David Ben Gurion, president of the Jewish Agency, arrived at Lydda Airport from Europe last night. He announced he would convene the World Zionist executive in Jerusalem March 9.

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