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JERUSALEM, Jan. 15 (AP)—At least 71 persons were reported slain today in fierce Arab-Jewish fighting in Southern Palestine and in the teeming streets of the northern port city of Haifa.

British planes, tanks and artillery halted the battle in the craggy southern area of the Holy Land where 50 persons—20 Arabs and 30 Jews—were estimated by police to have lost their lives in the last 24 hours. The battle there developed when 400 Arabs surrounded four Jewish settlements in the vicinity of Hebron.

Guns, grenades and knives were used in the fighting at Haifa, where it was reported 10 Arabs were killed and 25 wounded and five Jews killed and 12 wounded.


The lower town around the port area was completely isolated from the mountainside residential and business sections. Harbor activity halted. Oil refineries slowed because workers were unable to get to their jobs over streets intermittently swept by gunfire.

All public transportation in Haifa stopped and stores were locked. An official statement said “all courts and many other public facilities are closed until further notice.”

The unofficial tabulation of deaths in Palestine since the United Nations voted for partition November 29 now stood at 801.


During the fighting in Southern Palestine a plane, which British military officials said they believed was Jewish-piloted, fired on an RAF reconnaissance aircraft over Kfar Etzion. This marked the first time the RAF had encountered aerial opposition during current Arab-Jewish hostilities.

Jewish sources said the Arab attackers in the Hebron area were believed to be “recruits” from Syria and Iraq, and that most of them wore uniforms and steel helmets. Damascus dispatches said hundreds of Arabs have been slipping across the unguarded Palestine border to join in the fight.

Although the British Army said the shooting ceased after British troops brought up tanks and self-propelled guns, official sources said “large concentrations” of Arabs remained in the Hebron hills surrounding the settlements.