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The War of Independence: Operation “Yiftach”

(April 30, 1948)

On April 30, Operation "Yiftach" was launched to capture the strategically-important town of Safed in the Galilee.On the eve of the British withdrawal from Safed on 15 April, the Palmach had infiltrated into Safed, bolstering the defenses of the besieged Jewish quarter. With the withdrawal of British forces, the Arabs had managed to take control of strategically advantageous points in the city, including: a police fortress on Mount Cana'an, an ancient fortress in the town and an additional strategically-located building, Shalva House. On April 28, Haganah forces occupied the Rosh Pinah police fortress and a neighboring army camp as soon as these were evacuated by the British. Circumventing Mount Cana'an, Palmach forces occupied the villages of Birya and Ein Zeitun to the North of Safed and from here opened a corridor leading into the Jewish quarter of Safed through which the supplies were brought by soldiers into the starving quarter. On May 3, a second Palmach unit entered Safed, but the first Jewish attack, on May 6, ended in failure; the Arabs brought in reinforcements and began using artillery. A new attack, on May 10, resulted in the capture of the key positions in the town. The Safed Arabs, numbering some 10,000 fled the town, despite Jewish assurances they would not be harmed. This enabled the Jewish Forces to take control of a continuous area in eastern and Upper Galilee.

Source: Israel Defense Forces