More oranges poisoned with mercury turned up in West Germany and Holland Yesterday. At least in one instance the poisoned fruit came from Spain, raising speculation that they were mistakenly injectec by Palestinian terrorists who took responsibility Wednesday for poisoning of Israeli oranges.
The Discovery added to a panic over poisoned Israeli fruit and stopped most orange sales in Europe. The poisoned Spanish oranges reinforced the belief that the previously discovered poisoned Israeli oranges were spiked in a European port where they had been shipped for repacking and distribution.
In Israel, Prime Minister Manachem Begin lashed out of Palestinean terrorist organizations saying his government would never permit the creation of a Palestinian state "headed by orange poisoners."
An extremist Palestinian group calling itself the "Arab Revolutionary Army Palestinian Command" had earlier claimed responsibility for this new type of terrorism. The Palestine Liberation organization, the main Palestine group, has denied any involvement, however.
Calling it "barbarism unparalleled in human history," Begin told a group of workers at an orange packing plant near Haifa that it was "horrifying that they (the Palestinian extremists) try to damage the Israeli economy at the expense of German and Dutch children."
In Washington, the State Department condemned the poisoning of the oranges as "a particularly contemptible form of international terrorism." A spokesman said that the poisoned fruit had been found only in Europe. A shipment of Israeli oranges to the United States was expected later this month and would be carefully checked by U.S. experts, he added.
Two children and two women in West Germany suffered stomach ailments and skim erruptions after eating oranges, a Bonn Government official reported yesterday. Earlier, five Dutch children had been hospitalised after eating Israeli oranges.
No nation has banned Israeli or Spanish oranges but orange sales have been cut sharply. A Frankfurt fruit salesman, whose shop does not carry Israeli fruit, said yesterday he could not get rid of oranges imporrted from other countries. "To people afraid of being poisoned, all oranges look alike," he said.
Dutch health officials carrying out checks in southern Holland found a poisoned Spanish orange in the area where the contaminated Israeli fruit had been discovered earlier.
In Madrid, the government issued a statement denying that Spanish oranges contained mercury and saying that it was possible that oranges from other countries were being falsely sold as Spanish.