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French Magazine Says FBI Has Proof of Libyan Air Terrorism

May 8, 1992

PARIS (AP) _ The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has evidence linking Libya to the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Africa in which 170 people were killed, a French news magazine reported.

The respected French weekly Le Point said FBI analysis of photographs taken at the crash site revealed a half-inch electrical component in the wreckage of the French UTA airliner. The magazine did not cite sources.

The component was determined to be part of a system used to detonate explosives, the magazine said in its Saturday edition, seen in Paris today.

France has issued four arrest warrants for Libyans suspected of participating in the bombing of the UTA airliner on Sept. 19, 1989 over the West African nation of Niger.

The United Nations has imposed diplomatic santions, an arms embargo and cut off Libya’s air traffic to press its demand that Tripoli turn over two men indicted for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

The U.N. embargo also demands that Libya cooperate in the French investigation and prove it has renounced terrorism.

Le Point said FBI investigators traced the part to its manufacturer, a Taiwanese company, Tai Youn, which sold 350 of them to Grasslin, a company based in Fribourg, Germany.

The German company then sold the parts to a subcontractor which does business with a number of Arab countries, Le Point said.

An official with the unidentified subcontractor told the magazine it sold some of the parts to ″a civil servant who worked for the Tripoli government,″ the magazine said.

The FBI inquiry found the Libyan was an air security specialist and that the part was supposed to be used for switching on illuminated airport beacon systems, the magazine reported.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd today again pressed Libya to turn over the two Libyans accused in the Pan Am bombing for trial in Scotland or the United States. ″We are not trying to change the government of Libya, nor are our practical demands unreasonable,″ he told the House of Commons.