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Operation Kilshon

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From May 13, 1948 until May 18, 1948 Jewish forces from the Haganah and Irgun executed Operation Kilshon ("Operation Pitchfork"). Its aim was to capture the Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem particularly Talbiya in central Jerusalem.

At midnight on Friday May 14, the British declared its civil and military authority in Jerusalem to be at an end. In the morning they evacuated the city in two large convoys, one moved north towards Haifa and the other south towards Bethlehem. Due to British complicity, the Zionists managed to obtain a schedule of their withdrawal in advance and could launch the operation almost immediately after it.

1948 Jerusalem Bevingrad Princess Mary Ave

Jerusalem 1948, Princess Mary Street, blocked by barbed wire, was dubbed "Bevingrad". The building on the right is police HQ.

The Zionist forces quickly managed to capture "Bevingrad" (named after the British Colonial Secretary Ernest Bevin), called Russian Compound because it formerly had been inhibited by the Russian Orthodox Church but had been rented by the British authorities since the early years of the mandate and used as police headquarters, courthouse and prison. Many members of the Jewish underground had been imprisoned there (see:Museum of Underground Prisoners).

They also captured the Notre Dame Church, the American Colony, Sheikh Jarrah, Talbiya, German Colony, Baka, Talpiot and the Greek Colony.

A large portion of what was captured was to become the Israeli controlled portion of Jerusalem - "West Jerusalem". But some of the heaviest battles of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war was to follow and the Jerusalem frontier was to be redrawn many times.

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