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Violence in the Holy Land broke out almost immediately after the United Nations announced partition on November 29, 1947.
Jamal Husseini, the Arab Higher Committee's spokesman, had told the UN prior to the partition vote that the Arabs would drench "the soil of our beloved country with the last drop of our blood..." Husseini's prediction began to come true after the UN announcement.
The Arabs declared a protest strike and instigated riots that claimed the lives of 62 Jews and 32 Arabs.
Two days later, the jurists of Al-Azhar University in Cairo called on the Muslim world to proclaim a jihad (holy war) against the Jews.
Fighting in the undeclared war gradually escalated.
The first large-scale assaults began on January 9, 1948, when approximately 1,000 Arabs attacked Jewish communities in northern Palestine.
By February, the British said so many Arabs had infiltrated that they lacked the forces to run them back.
In fact, the British surrendered bases and arms to Arab irregulars and the Arab Legion, facilitating their raids and eventual invasion.