Sir Alan Gordon CunninghamClick here to view the original article.

JERUSALEM, Jan. 9 (U.P.)-Six hundred to 1000 Arab troops invaded Northern Palestine from Lebanon-Syrian border today and attacked two Jewish towns. They were driven back only after the British had hit their siege lines with war planes, artillery and mortars.

The British said late today the Arabs had fallen back across the frontier, but that they had reason to believe they would return and “renew the attack.” Reports from the mile-square battleground told of British Spitfires shooting up the Arabs with rocket projectiles, and of artillery, mortars and machine guns firing squarely into Arab positions.

Sir Alan Cunningham, British High Commissioner for Palestine, protested to the Syrian government against the attack showing the British were convinced it was mounted from Syrian territory. A dispatch from Beirut said, however, the attackers came from Lebanon.


Sir Henry Gurney, chief secretary of the Palestine government, notified all British officials to be prepared to leave on one month’s notice. It was understood this did not mean Britain would start withdrawing from Palestine before its mandate expires about May 15, but that Gurney wanted all concerned to be ready to leave.

A British spokesman, referring to today’s Arab attack from Lebanon, said that as long as Britain held the mandate her forces would repel any attack on Palestine from any quarter.

Arabs complained at the firmness with which British troops acted today. They said all the attackers from across the border were actually Palestine Arabs who had been in Syria and Lebanon training.

Fighting around the two settlements under attack-Dan and Kefar Szold, the latter largely inhabited by American Zionists-lasted seven hours. The settlements are at the headwaters of the Jordan river, in the narrow, northern extension of Palestine that juts between Southern Syria and Southern Lebanon.

British troops, with planes, artillery, mortars and heavy machine guns rushed to the area from nearby Metulla. The British and Jewish Haganah units, who fought beside the British, said the attack was no surprise.


The British, announcing their troops had “succeeded in bringing the situation under control,” listed three Jews killed and eight wounded, with no British casualties. A fourth Jew died later of wounds. Arab casualties were unreported; presumably they took any of their killed and wounded with them as usual when they retreated.

Tonight eight settlements in the area were under protection of a small but powerfully equipped group of British Lancers, dug into defensive positions ready to meet a possible new Arab attack from the dominating hills.

Meanwhile the extremist Jewish underground Stern Gang warned all foreign correspondents carrying Arab higher committee press cards that they had “forfeited their privilege of immunity.”

Arab press cards were issued to Christian foreign correspondents this week by Committee Secretary Dr. Hussein Khalidi who said they were for identification and “are no guarantees of safety and merely indicate that you are Christian and known to the committee.”