25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946

25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946

Jacob Miller - August 23, 2017

The King David Hotel bombing was an extremist Zionist attack carried out on July 22, 1946, carried out by the Irgun on the British administrative headquarters for Palestine. The hotel was the site of the central offices of the British Mandatory authorities of Palestine. The Irgun and sent warnings by telephone which, because bomb hoaxes were common, were ignored by the hotel staff.

Mandatory Palestine was a geopolitical entity under British administration, carved out of Ottoman Southern Syria after World War 1. The British civil administration in Palestine operated from 1920 until 1948. During World War I, the British drove the Turks out of the region during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. In the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, the English stated they would recognize Arab independence but then proceeded to divide the area with the support of France under the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The British complicated the issue with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, promising support for a Jewish state in Palestine. In 1922 the League of Nations legitimized the British occupation of the territory, “until such time as they were able to stand alone.”

The Irgun committed the attack in response to Operation Agatha, a police and military operation conducted by the British authorities in Mandatory Palestine. Soldiers and police searched for arms and made arrests in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, as well as several other settlements. Roughly 2,700 people were arrested in the raids, including the future Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. The officially stated purpose of the operation was to end “the state of anarchy” then existing in Palestine. The raids were purported to sabotage the alliance between the Jewish paramilitary the Haganah, and the extremist Lehi Stern Gang and the Irgun, to limit the military power, boost British military morale and prevent any sort of coup d’ètat.

The explosion occurred at 12:37 in the afternoon. It caused the collapse of the western half of the southern wing of the hotel. The rescue operation lasted for the next three days and over 2,000 truckloads of rubble were removed. Rescuers managed to only rescue six survivors. 91 people were killed and 46 people were injured.

25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Jerusalem on VE Day covered in Union Jacks. May 8, 1945. Wikipedia
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
British Soldiers seizing the ship Exodus with its Holocaust refugees, denying them entry to Eretz Israel. onjewishmatters
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Some British soldiers felt sympathy for the plight of the Jews and admired for their endurance. onjewishmatters
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
British soldiers guarding the fenced off central bus station during the curfew imposed in Tel Aviv under martial law, 1947. onjewishmatters
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Men of the 6th Airborne Division look at the assorted weapons, ammunitions, and equipment discovered in the Jewish settlement of Doroth near Gaza. Wikipedia.
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
A Soldier of the British 6th Airborne Division maintains order outside a baker’s shop in Tel Aviv. Wikipedia
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
British soldiers run the streets of Jerusalem. onjewishmatters
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
The British arrested thousands during their counterinsurgency campaign, often imposing severe prison terms, including for weapons-related offenses. They also began flogging as a judicial punishment. Here, Jewish civilians waiting to be questioned. onjewishmatters
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Zionist leaders arrested in Operation Agatha. Left to right- David Remez, Moshe Sharett, Yitzhak Gruenbaum, Dov Yosef, Shenkarsky, David Hacohen, Halperin. Wikipedia
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Pre-bombing. The British High Commissioner salutes outside the King David Hotel around 1945. FRED CSASZNIK
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
The King David Hotel. Edwin Jack courtesy of his daughter, Edwina.
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
The rear of the King David Hotel, 1931. Wikipedia

25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Irgun emblem with Hebrew symbols used during its armed campaign. Wikipedia
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
The explosion of a second bomb at the King David Hotel. Wikipedia
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
“As the dust and smoke settle following the explosion of a bomb at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem members of the Palestine Police are seen going to the aid of a casualty lying on the pavement..” Photo- No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Imperial War Museum.
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Two dead bodies lie on the pavement outside the King David Hotel, Jerusalem. In the background constables of the Palestine Police search for the remaining victims. Photo- No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Imperial War Museum.
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Following the explosions at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem soldiers and members of the Palestine Police work to rescue victims from the wreckage. Photo- No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Imperial War Museum.
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
A wounded soldier is carried out from the ruins of the King David Hotel, Jerusalem on a stretcher, after being hauled out from under the wreckage. Photo- No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Imperial War Museum.
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Workers attempt to rescue survivors after the attack. carrollcrossroads
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
The King David Hotel on July 22, 1946. Library of Congress
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Initial reports on King David Hotel bombing said 50 dead; the blast killed 91. Mondoweiss
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Sergeant Edwina Payton was Mentioned in Despatches for her bravery after the King David Hotel atrocity. She married B/Sgt James Mailey in Palestine in 1947. When the Mandate ended she stayed on in Jerusalem with local Arabic workers in order to destroy all the documents and then flew to Haifa in a small aircraft, returning to the UK by sea. Edwina went on to serve for 33 years, retiring as a Major. She died in 1978. Margaret Bellwood, Edwina’s sister.
25 Photos of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946
Paratroopers enforce the curfew in Tel Aviv after King David Hotel bombing, July 1946. Photographer- Haim Fine, Russian Emmanuel collection, from collections of the National Library of Israel.

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