Thursday 22 May 2003

Foreign Secretary was target for assassination by Zionist groups

Files reveal terrorist plot to help achieve Jewish state and tell of struggle to unmask spy who betrayed atomic secrets

Jewish extremists planned to set up "IRA-style" cells in London with instructions to assassinate politicians including the Foreign Secretary to help achieve a Jewish state, MI5 papers released today show.

The Security Service was so worried about the threat posed by two Jewish militant groups in 1946 that they told Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister, to expect "indiscriminate" shooting of troops in Palestine and terrorist attacks in Britain.

British agents in Jerusalem warned that the organisations - the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Group - were plotting to send teams to London to stage assassinations and bombings.

Documents released at the National Archives - formerly known as the Public Record Office - in Kew, west London, show that MI5 believed the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, was at the top of the target list in the turmoil of post-war Palestine.

In a memo to Sir David Petrie, the first director general of MI5, one official wrote: "They [Irgun and Stern] have been training selected members for the purpose of proceeding overseas and assassinating prominent British personalities. Special reference has been made several times to Mr Bevin in this connection."

The Labour politician was a target for Jewish resentment after he implemented a 1939 Act of Parliament making Jewish immigration into British-controlled Palestine illegal.

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