MAALOT, Israel--Amid an explosion and heavy gunfire, Israeli army troops charged into a school yesterday where three Palestinian terrorists held 86 Israeli teenagers hostage, killing the terrorists.
Sixteen hostages were killed and 70 hostages were wounded in the action which took place before the terrorists were killed. Reports early this morning were unclear as to whether the hostages had been killed and wounded by terrorist grenades or Israeli gunfire.
The Palestinian terrorists seized the youths, who were on a tour, as they slept in sleeping bags shortly before dawn and threatened to blow them up unless the Israeli government freed 20 terrorists.
The government decided for the first time in Israel's history to surrender to terrorist demands, and an effort was underway by the French and Romanian ambassadors to negotiate the exchange.
Premier Golda Meir vowed in an emotional televeision address that Israel "will do everything in its power to chop off the hands that intend to harm a child or an adult in a city or in a village."
In past cases of terrorism, the Israelis have staged retaliatory attacks on guerilla bases in neighboring Arab lands. Meir's remarks were taken as a hint by American observers that another such attack might follow this second terrorist strike inside Israel in a little over a month.