Three Charged with Murder in Killing of Israelis
LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) _ Three pro-Palestinian gunmen, a Briton and two Arabs, were charged with murder today in the slayings of three Israelis in the Larnaca marina last month.
The three gunmen appeared in the beachside court building only a couple of hundred yards from the marina where the three Israelis were shot and killed aboard their small yacht Sept. 25.
A charge sheet identified the three suspects as Khaled Abdel Kader al Khatib, 28, a student with a Syrian passport; Abdelhakim Sado Khalifa, 29, a laborer with a Jordanian passport; and Ian Michael Davison, 25, a carpenter with a British passport.
The three are accused collectively on three counts of murder and five counts of illegally possessing guns and explosives.
Scores of armed police ringed the court in an unprecedented security operation during a 15-minute court appearance by the defendants, who stood silently in the docket.
The three surrendered to police 10 hours after seizing the Israeli yacht in a dawn attack on Yom Kippur.
Police prosecutor Yannakis Christodoulou told the court in an earlier hearing that the three shot an Israeli woman, Esther Palzur, 50, ″in cold blood″ as soon as they boarded the yacht.
He said that Mrs. Palzur’s husband, Reuven, 53, and a third Israeli, Abraham Avnery, 55, were tied up and shot in the back of the head shortly before the gunmen surrendered.
The gunmen had demanded the release of Palestinian guerrillas imprisoned in Israel.
A preliminary judicial inquiry has been set for Nov. 11. This is a normal procedure leading to a full trial by three judges at a later date.
The triple killing prompted Israel to retaliate on Oct. 1 with a long-range air raid against PLO headquarters in Tunis that left an estimated 75 people dead.