Intro Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Jan-May 1947
Section 12
May-Nov 1947
Section 13
Dec 1947-April 1948
Section 14
Evacuation 1948
Stand Down
July 1948

Pages in Section 10

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Bombing of the King David Hotel

i. Givat Hayim

ii. Ramat Gan

iii. Night of the Bridges

iv. Attack on Railway Workshops

v. OP Agatha

vi. Bombing of the king David Hotel

vii. Operation Shark

 Bombed King David Hotel

Irgun's choice of bombing the King David Hotel's south wing housing the civilian Secretariat, rather than the central block of the hotel housing the Military HQ , was q direct response to Operation Agatha.

During Operation Agatha, police had removed incriminating documents found in the Jewish Agency buildings to the Secretariat offices. Haganah wanted these destroyed. Initially Haganah had approved the attack on the King David Hotel as part of the Jewish United Resistance Movement but had specified that the attack should take place when most staff, especially the civilian secretaries and typists were not in the building. If the Irgun had exploded the bombs an hour later the civilian staff would have been on their lunch break but the Irgun would not have been able to set up bombs in the basement restaurant while it was full of diners.

The two main reasons the attack was so 'successful', as an act of terrorism, was firstly that Jewish informers had briefed the CID that Haganah had vetoed any United Jewish resistance operations for the duration of that week's London Conference  and secondly that the police had already searched the King David for bombs earlier following a hoax telephone call.

As a result of the attack, 91 people were killed,(92 if one counts the terrorist who died) Most of the dead were hotel or Secretariat staff. The deaths included 41 Arabs, 28 British citizens, 17 Palestinian Jews, 2 Armenians, 1 Russian, 1 Greek and 1 Egyptian. Another 46 people were injured. Thirteen of those killed left no identifiable traces.

As a result of the death toll Haganah ended its membership of the United Resistance.

Throughout Palestine, Jews expressed their horror at the tragedy.

General Evelyn BarkerAs per usual, the British threw away any political advantage the incident gave them. Sir Evelyn Barker, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) British Forces, committed the first and greatest gaffe. He had been in his office when the first bomb exploded. Three hours later, still in a state of shock, he sat down and penned the following anti-Semitic letter to the forces under his command:

"The Jewish community of Palestine cannot be absolved from responsibility for the long series of outrages culminating in the blowing up of a large part of the Government offices in the King David Hotel causing grievous loss of life. Without the support, active or passive, of the general Jewish public the terrorist gangs who actually carried out these criminal acts would soon be unearthed, and in this measure the Jews in this country are accomplices and bear a share of the guilt.
I am determined that they shall suffer punishment and be made aware of the contempt and loathing with which we regard their conduct. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the hypocritical sympathy shown by their leaders and representative bodies, or by their protests that they are in no way responsible for these acts.
I have decided that with effect on receipt of this letter you will put out of bounds to all ranks all Jewish establishments, restaurants, shop, and private dwellings. No British soldier is to have social intercourse with any Jew ... I appreciate that these measures will inflict some hardship on the troops, yet I am certain that if my reasons are fully explained to them they will understand their propriety and will be punishing the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt of them."

Thanks to the efficient Zionist infiltration of the military administration, the letter was copied to local and international newspapers.

Although the order was rescinded in two weeks, the damage had been done. From then on, the police not could rely on the Yishuv, who had been so shocked by the Bombing of the King David Hotel, to help bring the perpetrators of that outrage to Justice.

The next event to alienate the Yishuv still further was Operation Shark, which affected the least politically-minded Jews - the bourgeois population of Tel Aviv.

Next- Operation Shark

PS The father of this web page's author was in his office in the Secretariat when the bombs exploded. Luckily for him the office was at the rear end of the wing so he received only minor injuries. Since he was a telephone engineer working with the government controlled Palestinian Post and Telegraph Service, he was able to call out experienced telephone linesmen and their vans to help with the rescue digging. (MP)

Operation Shark    

Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association