URGENT Groups Claim They Downed Mexican Airliner In ‘Suicide Mission’
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A statement purported to be from two underground groups claimed Friday they caused the crash of an airliner in Mexico four days ago to retaliate for U.S. action against Libya. All 166 people on the plane were killed.
The typewritten Arabic statement signed by the Arab Revolutionary Brigades and the Egyptian Revolutionaries was left outside the offices of news organizations in Moslem west Beirut. There was no way to authenticate it.
The statement was accompanied by a photograph of a man it claimed was the ″suicide martyr″ and identified as Mohammed Mustafa Mohsen Al-Mashour.
It did not say how the man purportedly caused the crash of the Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 on the 7,792-foot El Carbon mountain, 90 miles northwest of Mexico City.
The plane, bound for Los Angeles, crashed 15 minutes after taking off from Mexico City. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has said nine Americans were among the dead.
″We declare that we downed the Mexican plane in response to the American attempt to invade Libya and in response to the Israeli and American fascist air raid on the Mieh-Mieh camp in south Lebanon,″ the statement said.
Israeli warplanes attacked the Mieh-Mieh Palestinian refugee camp March 27, killing 10 people.
The United States said the 6th Fleet fired on Libyan patrol boats and a shore missile installation on March 24 and 25 after Libya fired on U.S. warplanes maneuvering in the disputed Gulf of Sidra. The maneuvers ended March 27.
The Arab Revolutionary Brigades have claimed several attacks against Israeli targets in Europe in recent years, including the 1984 assassination of Yacov Barsimantov, 43, a political officer at the Israeli Embassy in Paris.
The Egyptian Revolutionaries claimed the hijack of an Egyptian airliner from Athens to Malta last November. The statement pledged to ″retaliate severely and without any mercy to any future attack by the United states or the Zionist entity against our people.″
Shortly before the Mexican plane crashed, the pilot radioed the aircraft was having pressurization problems and requested permission to return to Mexico City. Mexican officials have refused to speculate on the cause of the crash.