Islamic Terrorist Sentenced To 15 Years
Jul. 18, 1988
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ A Lebanese member of the pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad organization was sentenced to 15 years in prison today after pleading guilty to manslaughter in a failed attempt to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Nicosia.
Omar Ahmed Hawillo, 28, confessed he was involved in a May 11 terrorist attack with another Lebanese, Kadour Ahmed Honeim, to blow up the Israeli Embassy with a car bomb.
The plan failed when police prevented Honeim, who was driving a car loaded with 220 pounds of explosives, from parking in front of the embassy.
The bomb exploded 200 yards from the building as Honeim was driving off, killing him and a Cypriot man and woman, and wounding 15 other Cypriots.
The Japanese-made vehicle was traced to Hawillo, and he was arrested by the police less than an hour after the blast.
Police found an attache case near the scene containing a remote-control detonating device with Hawillo's fingerprints.
''We have nothing against the Cypriot people, but I am proud for any blow against Zionism, as we did in Cyprus,'' Hawillo said in a written confession, which was read in court by an official.
Hawillo's trial on charges of manslaughter and illegal possession of explosives lasted only three hours.
Hawillo, a slender man of medium height with a thin moustache and beard, sat impassively in court listening to the proceedings in Greek through an Arabic interpeter.
He said in his confession he joined Islamic Jihad, or Holy War, while living in Beirut two years ago. He said he entered Cyprus March 21 on orders from his superior, Hassan al Askar, who gave him $20,000 to buy a car.
Islamic Jihad is a pro-Iranian group that ios believed to be holding some of the 18 foreign hostages in Lebanon. Nine Americans are among the hostages.
Hawillo said he met with Honeim a few days later who told him ''that our target will be the Zionist embassy of Israel in Nicosia, and our mission to blow up the car which I had bought in front of the embassy.''
He added that Honeim gave him the attache case with the remote-control device, and told him to ''throw it away if I heard an explosion.''
''In case I heard shots I was to wait for a minute and then press the detonating button,'' Hawillo said.
He said he never used the remote control device, but threw away the attache case and ran away from the embassy vicinity after hearing the explosion.