'Lehi considered assassinating Winston Churchill'

Report: Declassified MI5 files reveal Jewish underground member wanted to kill British PM, foreign secretary in attempt to end the mandate.

April 4, 2011 11:02
1 minute read.
Winston Churchill

winston churchill 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Lehi considered killing Winston Churchill, The Telegraph reported on Monday, citing declassified MI5 files.

Eliyahu Bet-Zuri, a member of the underground group during the time of the British mandate, reportedly suggested in November 1944 that Lehi, or Stern Gang, members fly to London to kill the prime minister and force the British out of Mandatory Palestine, sparking concern in MI5 that Jewish extremists might try to assassinate foreign secretary Ernest Bevin, as well.

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"As soon as [Bet-Zuri] returned to Stern Group headquarters, he proposed to suggest a plan for the assassination of highly placed British political personalities, including Mr. Churchil, for which purpose eimssaries should be sent to London," a sources within the Lehi told Major James Robertson from MI5's Middle East section.

Four months later, Bet-Zuri was executed in Cairo for assassinating Lord Moyne, the British Minister in the Middle East.

In February 1946, a British defense officer in Palestine wrote that the "Stern Group are training members to go to England to assassinate members of His Majesty's Government, especially Mr. Bevin. Stern further reported to be receiving practical sympathy from important Jews in Palestine. A steady flow of recruits for Stern being received in this connection."

Maj. Robertson said that there is "considerable bitterness among the Jewish community" about Bevin. "A typical Jewish 'man in the street,' for example, described [Bevin's] speech as the most anti-Semitic ever delivered by a British statesman," Robertson wrote in June 1946.

Another recently released MI5 file detailed strategies the Nazis used to attempt to poison Allied commanders.

Female agents hid microbes in handbag mirrors, The Telegraph reported, citing documents from the interrogation of four German agents who parachuted into France in 1945.

The agents also carried cigarettes that caused headaches. Once an Allied soldier would smoke the cigarettes, the Germans would give them Bayer's aspirin tablets that were laced with poison. They also carried poisoned coffee and chocolate.

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