HL Deb 09 November 1944 vol 133 cc1007-8

My Lords, on Tuesday last I undertook to inform the House as soon as fuller details about the assassination of Lord Moyne had been received. It has now been reported from Cairo that the two prisoners have made the following confession: "We are members of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel organization, and what we have done was done on the instructions of this organization." The organization is that known as the Stern Group. The prisoners stated that they were sent down by this group for the express purpose of murdering Lord Moyne. The reason they give is that he was head of the political department of the British Government in the Middle East, and was carrying out a policy which was against that of the Jewish Nationalists. The Stern Group therefore decided to kill him. The identity of the prisoners is still not established, but they have given their names as Moshe Cohen Itzak and C. Salzmann.

The facts of the murder so far as they can be established are as follows: Lord Moyne was returning in his car to lunch at his house at approximately 1.15 p.m. In car with him were his lady secretary by his side and in front his A.D.C. and driver. As the car entered the short drive leading to the front door, two men were noticed outside the gate. When the car drew up at the door of the house, Lord Moyne's A.D.C. got out to open the door of the house, and the driver got out to open the door of the car. It appears that the two men had followed the car up the drive. They shot the driver dead as he passed behind the car to get to the right-hand door and then fired through the door at Lord Moyne, hitting him three times. They then fled, mounted bicycles and rode away.

Neither the A.D.C. nor the lady secretary was injured. The former gave immediate chase to the assailants, while the latter summoned help, which arrived within ten minutes. Medical assistance was on the spot in quarter of an hour. The A.D.C. informed a police station close at hand, the police from which pursued the criminals, stopping a passing car for the purpose. Meanwhile, however, a passing Egyptian police constable on a motor bicycle was warned of what had happened, and promptly gave chase on his motor bicycle. He overtook the criminals at the entrance to the Bulak Bridge, where they opened fire on him, firing fifteen rounds. He returned the fire, wounding one man and then riding the other into the kerb. With the aid of other police who came up he effected the arrest of both. For his very gallant conduct this police constable has already been decorated and promoted by order of His Majesty King Farouk.

At one time Lord Moyne was regularly escorted by Egyptian police in a car which accompanied his own, and a police guard was stationed at his house by day as well as by night. Some months ago, however, the police escort car and day guard at the house were dispensed with on Lord Moyne's direct instructions. The investigation continues and is being conducted with all vigour by the Egyptian authorities, in full cooperation with the Palestine Police. Senior officials of the Palestine Police have paid a special visit to Cairo. Both His Majesty King Farouk and the Egyptian Government have throughout been most sympathetic and helpful in every way.

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