Arabs on Defense in Jerusalem

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(Following is a pooled dispatch from American correspondents in the Jewish area of Jerusalem.)

JERUSALEM, July 12 (AP)-The Arabs have begun a bitter holding action for the one-fourth of Jerusalem that remains in their hands. Pressure is increasing from the Jewish ring of steel and fire.

Three preventive thrusts were made last night in an apparent effort to forestall an Israeli push on the old walled city. The Jews countered with a demolition raid on the perimeter of the Jaffa gate. Sappers blasted a block of three buildings, cutting a path to the foot of the wall itself.

Jewish mortars continued a relentless shelling of the old city area pouring in hundreds of mortar shells form “Davidka,” Israeli’s secret weapon.

Arab artillery and mortars laced the Jewish quarters with shell bursts on a reduced scale during the night and morning. There was no estimate on casualties.

The Arabs threw heavy fire from the Jaffa gate at the Jewish perimeter and from the Zion gate at Mount Zion, an Israeli bastion. In the latter attack a mortar shell ignited a building owned by the Roman Catholic Apostolic Delegation. The yellow and white Vatican flag burned and fell at midnight as a towering pillar of orange flame roared skyward, pierced by thousands of red tracer bullets.