Judge Takes Investigation To Cyprus
PARIS (AP) _ The judge heading the probe of last month’s bombings in Paris left for Cyprus on Thursday to look into reports that a Lebanese suspect may have returned home via that island following one of the attacks, news reports said.
Judge Alain Marsaud is investigating the movements of Emile Abdallah, one of three brothers being sought in connection with a bombing in Paris on Sept. 17, Agence France-Presse said.
Police say witnesses have identified Abdallah as the man who threw a bomb from a passing car at the Tati discount clothing store, killing six people and injuring 35 in the worst of five bloody attacks.
French journalists have reported seeing Abdallah at his home in northern Lebanon about noon on Sept. 18. But several French newspapers have said air connections from Paris to Vienna, Austria, to Larnaca, Cyprus, and a speedboat ride to Lebanon could theoretically have gotten him home from Paris by that time.
However, reporters in Tripoli, Lebanon, say Abdallah attended a news conference in that northern port city with two of his brothers, Robert and Maurice, on the afternoon of Sept. 17. That would appear to make his presence in Paris a few hours later impossible.
The French news agency said Marsaud planned to check transit records to determine if Abdallah passed through Larnaca the night before. Larnaca is the main European gateway to Lebanon.
It was not known how long Marsaud planned to be in Cyprus. His office declined to confirm the news reports or provide any details.
Denis Baudoin, a spokesman for Premier Jacques Chirac, told reporters in Paris that there is not enough evidence to accuse any country or group of the bombings other than the Abdallah brothers.
″The only precise suspicion is that the Abdallah family is behind the Paris attacks,″ Baudouin said.
All four Abdallah brothers have denied involvement in the Paris attacks.
One of the four, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, is in a French jail. He is one of three Middle East terrorists whose release is being sought by several groups either claiming responsibility for the bombings or threatening new ones.
In Beirut, a statement signed by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia threatened more attacks unless Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Iranian Anis Naccache and Armenian Varoujan Garbidjian were released from French prisons.
It was the first demand by that group for the release of the three, although many statements signed by the Committee for Solidarity with Arab and Middle East Political Prisoners have sought their freedom.
The handwritten, Arabic-language statement was signed by the Armenian Secret Army’s official spokesman, Vahramissan, and was hand-delivered to all news agencies and newspapers in Moslem west Beirut.
It accused France of preparing for a ″physical liquidation″ of Middle East convicts in its jails by ″manufacturing new accusations against them.″
″This policy must stop,″ the statement said. ″Otherwise you shall witness in the coming days additional blows with vast devastation and grave consequences.″