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Beirut Kidnapping Group Claims Responsiblity for Rome Cafe Attack

September 19, 1985

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A group that claims it kidnapped a British journalist in Beirut six months ago claimed responsibility today for a grenade attack on a cafe in Rome that wounded 38 people.

In a typewritten statement in Arabic delivered to a Western news agency in Beirut, the Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Moslems said the Cafe de Paris was attacked Monday because it was ″one of the joint dens of U.S. and British intelligence.″

The statement alleged that intelligence operations at the cafe were directed by Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad.

It warned tourists, particularly Arabs, not to travel to Italy, Britain and Spain, ″because they will be subject to operations by our Mujahedeen.″

The statement said that ″mujahedeen,″ or Holy Warriors belonging to the ″unit of the martyr teacher Abi Zirr Ghaffary,″ returned safely to base after staging the attack.

Italian authorities have charged a Palestinian born in Lebanon with the attack. The suspect has denied responsibility.

The organization has previously claimed responsiblity for the March 25 kidnapping of Alec Collett, 63, a British writer on assignment with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, in Moslem west Beirut.

Collett is one of 11 Westerners missing in Beirut since March 1984. Six Americans and four Frenchmen are still being held.

The group also claimed two grenade attacks on the British Embassy in Beirut in 1984, which caused no casualties, and for the slaying of British diplomat Kenneth Whitty in Athens, Greece, in March, 1984.

It also said its men killed Britain’s deputy high commissioner in Bombay, Percy Norris, last November.

British newspapers have speculated the name was a cover for an underground Palestinian guerrilla group led by Sabri al-Banna, also known as Abu Nidal.

The Abu Nidal faction had claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov, Israel’s ambassador in London, in 1982.

Israel said it invaded Lebanon that summer to crush Palestinian guerrillas and cited the Argov shooting to justify its actions.

Abu Nidal had been outlawed by Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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