Police Say Three Palestinians Sought Links With Peruvian Guerrillas
LIMA, Peru (AP) _ A Palestinian allegedly connected with the 1985 terrorist attacks in the Rome and Vienna airports and two comrades have been arrested while trying to form links with Peruvian guerrillas, police said Saturday.
The three suspects were presented Saturday to reporters, and police said they were members of the Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorist organization.
Police identified them as Hocine Bouzidi, 36, a Palestinian who they said had Algerian identity documents; Ahmad Assaad Mohamed, 19, of Lebanon, and Mohamed Abdelrahman Abed, 19, from Egypt.
″We are students, not terrorists,″ Abed told the reporters.
Police Col. Javier Palacios said Interpol has said Bouzidi helped plan the simultaneous raids in December 1985 at the Rome and Vienna airports in which 14 people were killed and 120 wounded. He reported the international police organization also said Bouzidi was involved in planning the November 1985 hijacking of an Egyptian jetliner. Egyptian commandos stormed the craft after it landed in Malta and 59 people died.
Palacio said Interpol reports named Bouzidi as a Central Committee member of the Abu Nidal oragnization, a radical group that split off from the Palestine Liberation Organization and has been blamed for scores of terrorist attacks in the Middle East and Europe.
The PLO issued a statment in Lima Saturday calling the three suspects ″enemies of the Palestinian revolution.″
Palacios said the three were arrested July 16 in Lima but it was not made public until late Friday because of the investigation.
He said police suspected, but had ″no conclusive proof,″ that the three men sought connections with Peru’s Maoist Shining Path movement to gain recruits for Abu Nidal and plan joint attacks against against U.S., Peruvian and Jewish targets in Peru.
An Interior Ministry communique said joint attacks were planned against the U.S. Consulate, the Israeli Embassy, the Synagogue of Israel and the Israeli travel agency Shalom.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the three probably would be deported. But he did not say to what country they might be sent and made no mention of extradition requests.
Palacios said police recovered documents showing Bouzidi had been in Peru 45 days and the two others for seven months.
Government officials say more than 15,000 people have been killed in violence related to the Shining Path insurgengy since the guerrillas began their campaign eight years ago.