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Israelis capture old Jerusalem

By
ROBERT MUSEL

JERUSALEM, June 7, 1967 (UPI)-A Jew in a paratrooper's uniform blew a triumphant blast on a ram's horn at the Mandelbaum Gate today and signaled the fall of Jordan's old section of the Holy City to Israeli forces. For the first time in 20 years Israelis prayed at their Wailing Wall.

There was fighting, bloodshed, prayer and joy. Shortly after the Old City with its shrines of Christendom fell to the Israelis and the sound of sharp fighting died away, Israel's one-eyed Gen. Moshe Dayan rode into the town.

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He went to the Wailing Wall and offered prayers. Hundreds of troops, dirt-caked, sweaty, tired, stood silently in prayers at the wall which is the only remnant of the temple built by King Herod and destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

As Dayan, the new Israeli defense minister, toured the streets, he rode past burned-out vehicles and on one street three Jordanian snipers lay face down, captives of the Israelis.

Some Jordanian wounded were taken to the Israeli sector for treatment.

There was no immediate estimate of damage to shrines, but there was a hole plainly visible in the 16th-century Lion's Gate.

Israelis drove around joyfully in streets forbidden to them since the partition of the Holy City into Jordanian and Israeli sectors.

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Some rode in captured Jordanian cars and trucks. One Israeli with a grin form here to here tooled through the streets with a big picture of Jordan's King Hussein stuck on the radiator.

White flags hung like limp pennants from Jordanian homes. The Israelis had broadcast appeals to show the flag of surrender and slowly the residents did so.

I watched the Israelis pound the Jordanian last-ditch defenders who had their guns in the Christian quarter of the Old City and around the Mount of Olives.

"We appealed to them to stop firing, using an Arabic language appeal on a loudspeaker," an Israeli officer said.

But I heard the vicious chatter of machinegun fire and saw smoke and flames rise from the old section which holds the sacred shrines of Christendom.

Then Israeli jet planes and tanks combined to pound the Jordanian positions outside the Old City into submission. Israeli troops, who had surrounded the Jordanian half of Jerusalem for two days, closed in.

A few minutes later the Mandelbaum Gate opened and the division of the Holy City ended after 20 years. Whooping Israelis claimed it would never be divided again.

Again and again they chanted that the old section, sacred to Jews for 3,000 years, was "once and for all in our hands." Elderly men, some with the prayer shawls of Orthodox Jews, surged up to the gate and asked permission to enter the old section to pray at the Wailing Wall.

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Young soldiers returning from battle advised them to stay put. Sniper fire still cracked in the ancient narrow streets.

But bearded paratroop Gen. Shlomo Goren, chief chaplain of the Israeli Army, raised a shofar (ram's horn) to his lips at the Mandelbaum Gate. He blew it mightily to announce Jews could once more worship in the City of David at the Wailing Wall.

Israel's capital exploded with excitement.

Men, women and children who had withstood two days of Jordanian shelling that injured more than 500 persons and destroyed or damaged 1,000 homes poured into the streets and applauded the troops returning victorious through the gate.

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