Explosives Said Found After Ali Abbas Hamadi’s Arrest
BONN, West Germany (AP) _ Security sources said today police found large amounts of a liquid explosive when they searched a square-mile area after arresting a Lebanese man believed linked to the kidnappings of two West Germans in Beirut.
Officials have said Ali Abbas Hamadi, who was arrested at the Frankfurt airport on Monday, may be involved in the abductions of the two West Germans.
Authorities said they believed the kidnappings were intended to force the release of Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a brother of Ali Abbas Hamadi. Mohammed Ali Hamadi was arrested Jan. 13 and is accused by the United States of air piracy and murder in the 1985 TWA hijacking in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed.
The explosive, methyl nitrate, was found on land outside the town of Beckingen in southern Saarland state Tuesday, security sources told The Associated Press. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Cologne-based Deutschlandfunk radio said officials found about five gallons of the explosive.
Mohammed Ali Hamadi was carrying methyl nitrate when he was arrested at Frankfurt airport, police have said.
Beckingen is six miles from Merzig, where Ali Abbas Hamadi recently lived, and about the same distance from Saarlouis, where Mohammed Ali Hamadi lived until 1984 and still has a girlfirend, security sources said.
The area is close to both the French and Luxembourg borders with West Germay. The square-mile area searched was roped off today.
A West German television network reported Tuesday that Ali Abbas Hamadi may be the leader of a terrorist group involved in bombings in France and in recent kidnapping of foreigners in Beirut.
Government officials said they could not confirm or deny the report. ’All of these things are being investigated. I can’t tell you any more,″ said one well-informed official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
West Germany’s ZDF television network cited security sources for its report on Ala Abbas Hamadi. It said the alleged terrorist ring may have been responsible, among other attacks, for a June 1985 bombing at Frankfurt airport that killed three people.
Travel records of one of the arrested brothers corresponded closely with a series of bomb attacks in West Germany and France, ZDF said. It said Ali Abbas Hamadi’s had just arrived from Beirut when he was arrested.
The United States has accused Mohammed Ali Hamadi of being one of two gunmen who hijacked the TWA jetliner to Beirut in June 1985, holding 39 Americans prisoner 17 days and killing Navy diver Robert Stethem.
The U.S. government wants him extradited to face hijacking and murder charges, and West Germany says it is studying the request.
West German officials say the abductions of West Germans in Beirut may have been ordered by a third Hamadi brother, Abdul Hadi Hamadi, the Beirut security chief of the radical Shiite Moslem group Hezbollah.
In another development in the case, police reported wounding a resident of Merzig on Monday while searching an apartment building. They refused to reveal other details.
But a 19-year-old Palestinian resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the wounded man was his 23-year-old brother. He said his father, Hamsa Kassim, and three other brothers were arrested and his wounded brother was hospitalized.
In a telephone interview, the Palestinian said Ali Abbas Hamadi lived next door to his family until December. But he said the family had no other connection with him.
The youth said his brother was shot in the confusion when about 20 police officers stormed into the family’s apartment. They searched the apartment for hours, he said.
He said his father remained in police custody Tuesday, but that his brothers were released.