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Lebanese Deny Libya’s Claim on Diplomat’s Murder

January 15, 1985

ROME (AP) _ Police pressed their hunt on Monday for the killer of a Libyan diplomat, who they believe shot and wounded his attacker before dying on an icy street in front of his home. Libya blamed a Shiite Moslem group and PLO leader Yasser Arafat for the assassination Sunday of Farag Omar Makhyoun, 31.

Police said they were checking the possibility the assailant may be a follower of Shiite Moslem religious leader, Mousa Sadr, who disappeared mysteriously after a visit to Tripoli, Libya, in 1978.

Libya’s official news agency, JANA, charged that ″groups loyal to″ Arafat, who is chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Shiite Moslem leader Nabih Berri - ″obviously supported by American imperialism″ - were responsible for the killing.

In Beirut, Lebanon, Berri dismissed the accusation. He is head of the dominant Shiite Amal, which was founded by the imam, and also serves on the Lebanese Cabinet.

″It looks like the Libyans forgot to also accuse Bangladesh and Tahiti,″ Berri said, indicating that he believed Libya was making irresponsible accusations.

″The history of Amal proves that we could have assassinated dozens of Libyan diplomats or nationals in Lebanon if we wanted to avenge the disappearence of Imam Mousa Sadr in this way,″ Berri said.

Police said Makhyoun was shot seven times but managed to fire two shots from a .38-caliber pistol during an ambush. They said they believed that Makhyoun had struck his assailant at least once because of small pools of blood found near where the killer dropped his silencer-equipped pistol.

The attack was claimed in an anonymous telephone call to The Associated Press office in London in the name of the Alborkan Libyan Organization. Alborkan is the Arabic word for volcano.

But the man who called gave no information about the killing other than what was reported in early news reports, including a reference to Magkjun Farg, a wrong name for the victim.

The same group claimed the murder of Libyan Ambassador Ammar D. El Taggazy and an attack against a top aide to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafy in Tripoli. Both attacks were made last year.

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