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Two Palestinians Convicted in Airport Attack

May 21, 1987

VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ A jury today found two Palestinians guilty of two counts of murder each in a 1985 terrorist attack on the Vienna airport. The presiding judge of Vienna’s regional court sentenced them to life in prison.

The two, tentatively identified as Tawfik ben Chaoval, 27, and Mongj ben Saadaoui, 28, also were convicted of 12 counts of attempted murder and violating Austrian weapons laws in the Dec. 27 attack.

Officials said the names are aliases and the real identities of the two have not been established.

Three bystanders died in the assault on a ticket counter of Israel’s El Al airline. Thirty nine others were injured, 20 of them seriously, in a hail of gunfire and exploding hand grenades.

A similar attack at the Rome airport the same day killed 16 people.

Charges for the slaying of the third victim were dropped because it was not clear whether the bullet that killed him came from police or terrorist weapons.

Austrian police shot dead a third presumed terrorist shortly after the airport assault.

In testimony before presiding judge Gernot Neumayer on Monday, the defendants said they had planned after the attack to seize hostages at the Vienna airport and fly with them to Tel Aviv. They said they had planned to blow up the plane as it flew over Tel Aviv.

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