On This Day — Stern Gang Bombs Cairo-Haifa Train (February 29 1948)

“In the ever-controversial history of Palestine, a special place is reserved for Avraham Stern. The leader of the eponymous “gang” – its Hebrew name meant “Fighters for the Freedom of Israel” – was shot and killed in February 1942 after masterminding a wave of terrorist attacks on British targets with the goal of securing Jewish independence in the holy land.”

Ian Black — The Guardian (April 23 2014)

February 29 2020 — On February 29 1948, the Stern Gang bombed the Cairo-Haifa train north of Rehovot, killing 28 British soldiers and wounding 35. On March 31 1948, the group mined the same train near Binyamina, killing 40 civilians and wounding 60. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: On This Day — Golda Meir Orders Operation Wrath of God (September 7 1972)

The Stern Gang — also known as Lehi for Loḥamei Ḥerut Yisraʾel (Hebrew: “Fighters for the Freedom of Israel”) — was a  Zionist terrorist organization founded in 1940 by Avraham Stern (1907–42) after a split in the right-wing underground movement Irgun Zvai Leumi.

Lehi is responsible for many acts of terror, including the assassination of Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident in the Middle East (November 6, 1944) and the Deir Yassin massacre (April 9, 1948).

On May 29 1948, the government of Israel formally disbanded Lehi. Most members of the Stern Gang joined the Israel Defense Forces.

The Stern group nevertheless conducted  the assassination of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte on September 17 1948.

After the assassination of Bernadotte, the new Israeli government declared Lehi a terrorist organization, arresting some 200 members and convicting some of the leaders.

Just before the first Israeli elections in January 1949, a general amnesty to Lehi members was granted by the government.

Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir joined Lehi in 1940. Shamir plotted the 1944 assassination of Lord Moyne, and personally selected Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri to carry it out.

In 1980, Israel instituted the Lehi ribbon [red, black, grey, pale blue and white] which is awarded to former members of the Lehi underground who wished to carry it, “for military service towards the establishment of the State of Israel”

PS — On February 12 1942, Avraham Stern was shot dead during a police raid. The circumstances of the shooting remain disputed to this day.

In his book “The Reckoning“, Patrick Bishop suggests  — but does not quite prove — that British detective Geoffrey Morton killed Stern in cold blood.


Cairo–Haifa train bombings 1948 — Wikipedia

 The Reckoning: Death and Intrigue in the Promised Land–a True Detective Story — Patrick Bishop

On This Day — Stern Gang Bombs Cairo-Haifa Train (February 29 1948)

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