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Fourth Terrorist Possibly Involved In Vienna Attack

January 2, 1986

VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ A fourth terrorist may have been involved in the grenade and submachine-gun attack on the Vienna airport last Friday, a security official said today.

Police earlier said three gunmen launched the attack on passengers waiting at the El Al Israel Airlines check-in counter, in which two bystanders were killed and 39 injured.

One of the terrorists was killed afterward in a shootout with police. The other two were wounded and captured, and are under treatment in a prison hospital.

A simultanous attack at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome by four terrorists claimed the lives of 16 people, including three of the terrorists. More than 120 people were wounded in both attacks.

Robert Danzinger, Director General for Public Security in Vienna, told The Associated Press: ″We still have no secure testimony on the fourth man, but there are some indications″ of another man taking part in the assault, ″although at the moment this is still pure speculation.″

The mass-circulation Neue Kronenzeitung, quoting security police sources, claimed Wednesday that the three Palestinian assailants had an accomplice because a bag allegedly containing the three submachine guns was not found after the attack.

There has been no official confirmation of where and how the terrorists received their weapons. Based on interrogations with the terrorists, authorities have said they believe the suspects had one or more contacts in Vienna to furnish them with money and arms.

Both surviving terrorists said they traveled from Beirut, Lebanon, to Athens, Greece, around Dec. 20. They have made conflicting statements about their further itinerary. One of them said he flew to Geneva and reached Vienna by train. The other claimed he came to Vienna via an unspecified West German city and Budapest, Hungary.

Meanwhile, an attorney for a married couple wounded in the attack demanded indemnification from the government for expenses the couple expects to incur.

The couple, Wolfgang and Jana Burkart, alleged that security had ″totally failed″ at the airport. Danzinger immediately rejected the demand as ″grotesque.″

The attorney, Otto Tuma, told the AP the demand for indemnification was contained in a letter he sent to the Interior Ministry, the government department in charge of police matters. But he added the letter did not request a specific sum of money.

According to Tuma, Mrs. Burkart, whose thigh bone was pierced by a bullet, may not be able to walk normally again for a year. He said the Burkarts have an 11-year-old daughter and will need a housekeeper until the woman has fully recovered.

Tuma said under existing legislation, the government has three months to reply. He added the couple may sue the government if the demand for indemnification is rejected, but indicated no decision has yet been made.

No other victims of the airport attack are known to have made simiar demands so far.

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