Brothers Accused of Terrorism Said to Be from Jordan Valley
LONDON (AP) _ Two Palestinian brothers arrested in Berlin and London in connection with attempted or actual bombings are members of the Hasi family from a village in the Jordan Valley, a family friend said Wednesday.
One brother, 31-year-old Nezar Hindawi, is charged with plotting to blow up an El Al jetliner flying from London to Tel Aviv last Thursday. The other, Ahmed Nawaf Mansur Hasi, 35, is suspected of involvement in the April 5 bombing of a West Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S. soldiers.
In West Berlin, authorities said Wednesday that the brothers occasionally visited each other, most recently in West Berlin earlier this year. But there was no evidence the brothers plotted terrorist activities together, said Volker Kaehne, spokesman for the West Berlin city Justice Department.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said only, ″We are looking at any possible links.″
London hotel owner Nial Oran, a friend of the family, said their real name is Hasi but they adopted the name of the powerful Hindawi clan in northern Jordan many years ago. ″This was usually done for protection,″ he told The Associated Press.
″There is no relation between the prominent Hindawi family which comes from northern Jordan and the Nezar Hindawi family which comes from the Ghor Valley section, the Jordan Valley, from a humble village called Bakoura,″ said a Jordanian Embassy spokeswoman, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
Hindawi was arraigned Tuesday on charges of plotting to blow up the Israeli jet and murder his pregnant Irish girlfriend, Anne-Marie Murphy, 32, by planting a time bomb in her luggage.
El Al security guards discovered 10 pounds of tightly wrapped plastic explosives in the false bottom of her bag. She told police she was flying to Israel to marry Hindawi. Scotland Yard freed her without charge, saying she had been duped into carrying the bomb.
Oran said a third brother, Mahmoud Hindawi, who works at the Qatar Embassy in London and helped talk Nezar into surrendering, reportedly was questioned by police.
″We’re not confirming any names, but two men were questioned and released,″ said a Scotland Yard spokeswoman.
Hasi was arrested in Berlin last Friday on suspicion of involvement in the bombing at the La Belle discotheque, which killed an American serviceman and a Turkish woman and injured 230 others, including 63 Americans. Prosecutors have not filed formal charges.
Kaehne said they investigated Hasi because of a tip from Scotland Yard but arrested him when police found documents in Hasi’s apartment indicating he was involved in the discotheque bombing. One document, Kaehne said, indicated ″that the trail leads to Libya.″ He refused to elaborate.
Another Justice Department spokesman, Walter Neuhaus, said Hasi did not appear to be the chief suspect in the discotheque bombing. But Neuhaus said police so far had no firm evidence of accomplices.
Hasi, recently laid off from his job as a mechanic, moved to West Berlin in 1975 and asked for political asylum, Neuhaus said. He was turned down but married a German woman in 1981 and was given permission to stay until 1988. The couple later divorced.
Neuhaus said there were no indications that Hasi was a member of any Palestinian extremist group.
Nezar Hindawi came to Britain in the late 1970s, married a Polish woman from whom he later was separated and worked briefly as a journalist.