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Arab nations Attack Israel

TEL AVIV, May 15, 1948 (UP) -- The battle for Palestine was on today with troops from Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq converging against the Jewish defenders of the new state of Israel.

Arab planes bombed Tel Aviv three times and one Egyptian pilot was taken prisoner when his plane was forced down just north of the new Jewish capital.

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The Egyptian government in Cairo announced officially that Egyptian planes raided the newborn state of Israel in the forefront of an Arab attack from all sides, including one raid on a Jewish airdrome outside Tel Aviv.

Two Egyptian ground forces, with infantry and artillery, drove across the borders of Palestine, and Cairo report claimed that one of them "wiped out" the Jewish village of Auja, on the road to Beersheba, when its defenders refused to surrender.

Jewish sources here had no information on this fighting. Auja is just across the Palestine border from Sinai, and would have been in Jewish territory under the United Nations partition plan.

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Jewish sources said direct Arab-Jewish negotiations for a truce in Jerusalem were started after Jews captured virtually all strongpoints abandoned by the British in the city.

Egyptian troops spearheaded the Arab assault, attempting an amphibious landing 21 miles south of Tel Aviv and crashing across the southern Palestine border at two points.

Syrian and Lebanese troops roared down across the northern frontier several hours before the midnight deadline, riding into battle in 150 armored trucks.

King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan sent his Arab Legion and Iraqi regulars slicing across the eastern frontier "to liberate the Holy Land from Zionism."

In Cairo, the spiritual head of the Moslems declared "the hour for jihad (Holy war) has struck."

Jewish forces met the attack on their frontiers by fighting for footroom within Palestine. In swift thrusts they captured Acre, most of Jerusalem and took over Haifa and Jaffa.

Other attacks were launched to clear the highway to Jerusalem and against the Arab triangle pointed to Tulkarm in the north, which threatens the coastal plain.

The first Egyptian air raid on Tel Aviv came early today. Four planes attacked at 300-foot altitude, two dropping bombs and the others strafing. Little damage resulted.

A second attack came within two hours, and the Egyptian planes bombed the airport just north of this new Jewish capital, damaging one Air France plane.

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A third raid came before noon, but the attacking planes were driven off without causing damage. The Egyptian air force was believed probing Jewish air defenses.

King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan, supreme commander of the Arab invasion forces, gave his troops the order to march at one minute after midnight. However, Abdullah's Arab Legion already was inside Palestine and scored a major victory by capturing four Jewish settlements 10 miles south of Jerusalem.

Abdullah paced his invasion from the east with a 24-hour ultimatum to two Jewish strongpoints near the border to surrender. One was the major settlement of Maharayim, five miles northeast of Safad. The other was the Pinhas Rutenberg hydro-electric plant on the Jordan River six miles south of the Sea of Galilee.

Both strongholds rejected the ultimatum. The electric plant supplies most of Palestine's electricity.

Jewish Haganah forced marked their self-declared sovereignty with heavy attacks of their own. Special Irgun Zvai Leumi mechanized forces in the north also launched a heavy attack along a 15-mile front between Tulkarm and Kfar Sava, capturing five Arab villages in what was described as the first Jewish assault on purely Arab territory in the Holy Land.

Reports from Haganah forces in southern Palestine said the Egyptian attempt to land amphibious troops was made at Isdud, 21 miles south of Tel Aviv.

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A ship bringing Egyptian forces was engaged by Haganah forces and driven off, these reports said.

Reports from Cairo said Egyptian army forces had captured Deir el Balah, on the coast of 12 miles north of the Egyptian border, and Auja, just inside the Palestine border and 30 miles inland from the coast.

Egyptian planes paced large land forces entering Palestine, Cairo dispatches said. The planes showered leaflets on Jewish areas demanding that the Jews surrender.

Reports on the Jewish defeat at Kfar Ezion, under attack for three days by the Arab Legion, said that they surrendered to King Abdullah early today.

About 100 defenders were believed killed, about 200 more were taken prisoner. The International Red Cross helped transfer about 100 wounded Jews, as well as 90 women, to Jerusalem.

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