Statement Purportedly From Pro-Iranian Group Claims It Set Bombs
Aug. 10, 1987
PARIS (AP) _ A statement in the name of the pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility Monday for bombings at four Tunisian resort hotels last week that injured 12 foreign tourists and a hotel employee.
A statement in French delivered to a news agency office in Paris said the Aug. 2 bombings were ''a first warning to the corrupt power'' and a revenge for the execution of an Islamic Jihad member by Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba's ''satanic regime.''
''We will strike everywhere at the vital interests of the clique in power,'' the statement said.
Earlier Monday in Tunis, Interior Minister Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali said more suspects had been arrested in the bombings and authorities had seized ''material from which explosives were made.''
He did not say how many people had been arrested or identify them.
The government has twice similarly announced arrests in connection with the bombings at the Mediterranean coast hotels that injured five British tourists, seven Italians and a Tunisian employee. The government gave no indication of how many people had been detained.
A group called Islamic Jihad, or Holy War, that operates in Lebanon and is believed to have close links to Iran has claimed responsibility for many bombings and kidnappings of French and American hostages.
It was not clear whether the statement in Paris was issued by people connected to the Lebanese group. It said the bombings were a ''symbolic gesture'' of revenge for the death of ''our martyr Habib Dhaoui, murdered by Bourguiba's satanic regime.''
Dhaoui, 31, was executed in July 1986 for armed robbery. During his trial before a military court in Tunis, he said he had been a member of Islamic Jihad since 1982 and had committed the robberies to get money ''to struggle against the Tunisian regime and American-Israeli imperialism.''
Bourguiba's pro-Western government broke diplomatic relations with Iran in March, accusing the Islamic republic of using its embassy in Tunis to stir up violent opposition.
The government has said it blames the opposition Islamic Tendency Movement for the hotel bombings. All Tunisian newspapers published front-page photographs Sunday of two movement leaders wanted in the attacks.
Pictures of Hamadi Ben Bouraoui Jebali, 38, and Salah Ben Hedi Ben Hassen Karkar, 39, also were broadcast on Tunisian television Saturday night.
Jebali, a member of the political committee of the movement, has been in hiding for months, authorities said. Karkar is believed to be control the finances of the group, they said.
The Islamic Tendency Movement condemned the bombings in a statement issued in Paris following the attacks.