The World: The Raid: 'A Score to Settle'

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TIME'S Jerusalem correspondent, Marlin Levin, and Reporter Daniel Drooz were both on the scene during the fedayeen raid and Israeli counterattack on the Savoy Hotel. Their report:

The first sounds of trouble came shortly before midnight when gunfire abruptly shattered the raucous gaiety of Tel Aviv's waterfront, a center of the city's night life. After killing a passing Israeli soldier who fired at them as they came up off the beach from their rubber dinghy, the commandos, loaded down with rucksacks and Kalashnikov rifles, ran down Samuel Esplanade, the main shore drive, firing at a movie theater and tossing grenades at a wedding hall. Passers-by fled in all directions, but few suspected an Arab attack. Said Gabi Edri, 17, a waiter at a wedding reception: "We thought they were criminals with a score to settle."

Passing the large seafront Ambassador Hotel, the guerrillas turned down a side street to the colorful but seedy 28-room Savoy, a favorite spot for higher-priced prostitutes. By then the whole neighborhood was aroused. Alya Me-shali, 18, heard the noise and stepped out of her home to see what it was. A bullet struck her, blowing away most of one leg. Sofia Gamliel, an Arabic-speaking native of Morocco, went to the window and was surprised to hear the guerrillas talking below. "They went across the street to the hotel," said Mrs. Gamliel, "and then I saw through my window shutter bullets of all colors in the sky."

The commandos stormed into the hotel with guns blazing, killing the desk clerk and a woman guest on the spot. Going from room to room, they quickly rounded up hostages and took them to the fourth floor. Among them were Kochava Levi, 30, a petite, black-haired prostitute who had ducked into the Savoy earlier to avoid a police roundup, and Avrahim Azikri, 28, an interior decorator and a guest in the hotel. "They told us if we behaved, everything would be okay," Azikri recalled later. "But when I heard the Israeli troops starting their attack, I thought it was every man for himself. The Arabs had put dynamite next to the wall, and I knew they meant to explode it. So I ran into a bathroom and crouched between two walls. When the dynamite went off, plaster fell over me, but ex cept for a shrapnel wound in my shoulder, I was okay."

Immediately after the guerrillas seized the hotel, Israeli police and soldiers began pouring into the area. Houses adjacent to the Savoy were evacuated. Around the corner, army medical teams set up field hospitals and aid stations. Swarms of neighborhood kids and late-night revelers gathered to watch the action as armored cars took up positions at either end of the street. K-9 corpsmen with German shepherds stationed themselves in alleyways to make sure none of the commandos escaped.

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