Returning and Redemption
Hassan Bey Salameh, Who Fought in German Army, May Be Top Commander


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By Fitzhugh Turner By Wireless to the Herald Tribune Copyright, 1947 New York Herald Tribune Inc.

JERUSALEM, Dec. 18.-The first Arab field commander for the coming war for Palestine has reached the Holy Land and is organizing villagers and volunteers in Arab country north and west of Jerusalem, a Jewish intelligence officer said today.

The commander is Sheik Hassan Bey Salamch, a guerrilla fighter and former German Army major, who has been exiled from Palestine by the British mandate government for the last ten years. His presence in the Lydda district has been known some days to Arabs, Jews and British alike.

According to information received by Jewish intelligence, Hassan Salameh is a candidate for top commander of Arab volunteer forces and the one favored by Haj Amin El Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, and key Arab political figure in Palestine. The Mufti was said to prefer Hassan Salameh, for example, to Fawzi Kawukji, another Palestine military leader who has been helping organize volunteers in Syria for the guerrilla campaign, expected to staff in May.

The Jewish intelligence man said Hassan Salameh has been given command of the Lydda district by the Mufti, and has been responsible for some Arab “military” activity against Jews in the last few days in the town of Lydda, near Palestine’s international airport, and in near-by Ramleh, the Arab trouble spot which lies athwart the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
Position Unconfirmed

Arab leaders would not confirm the importance of Hassan Salameh’s position. Dr. Hussein Khalidi, ranking member here of the Mufti’s Arab Higher Committee, would say only that Hassan Salameh was “somewhere in Lydda district” and that he, “like any other Arab, was preparing to fight for his country.” Another Arab source said Hassan Salameh had little chance of becoming a top commander, but would be prominent in the Lydda district, where he was born.

A tall, bulky, fair-complexioned man, known to Arabs as “Abou Ali,” Hassan Salameh is about fifty years old. He first came to prominence in the Mufti’s Arab revolt of 1936-39, when he was second in command of the Lydda Ramleh area. Among other activities he headed a people’s court which sentenced Arabs for nonparticipation in the pre-war troubles or for consorting with Jews.

The British exiled him in 1938. He found refuge in Syria and Iraq, and, finally, with the Mufti and a few other followers in war-time Germany. As a German officer in the North African campaign, he was parachuted into southern Palestine late in the war with other Arab leaders.

He was in Aley, Lebanon, with the Mufti until about two weeks ago, according to information available here. No one would say how he managed to enter Palestine, but it was assumed he walked across the loosely guarded border.

Arab Store Blasted

JERUSALEM, Dec. 18 (UP).-Two explosions blasted an Arab store in Jaffa tonight, touching off a twenty-five-minute exchange of gunfire across the No-Man’s Land between Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

British troops and police rushed to the scene in armored cars and brought the situation under control.

Tel Aviv hospitals reported no casualties. There was no report from Jaffa.