Irgun

(Hebrew for "organization") Also known as Etzel, which is the Hebrew acronym for "Irgun Tzvai-Leum" or "National Military Organization." The Irgun was an underground Zionist paramilitary group active during the British mandate of Palestine. Considered a terrorist entity by the British administration and a radical rival by the dominant Labor Zionist movement, the Irgun undertook armed operations against both Arab communities and the British. In 1946, Irgun members bombed the King David Hotel, which served as a British command post. On April 9, 1948, members of the Irgun were identified as participating in the attack on the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. By September 1948, the Irgun was completely dismantled and subsumed into the nascent Israeli army. One of the Irgun’s main commanders was Menachem Begin, who later became Prime Minister of Israel. See One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, Tom Segev, Henry Holt and Company, 2000; and Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001, Benny Morris, Vintage Books, 2001. See also "Irgun Zvai Leumi," Encyclopedia Britannica.

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