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Prosecutors Say Evidence Implicates Libya in 1986 Disco Attack

October 21, 1996

BERLIN (AP) _ A message intercepted from the Libyan embassy boasted of the success of a 1986 attack on a West Berlin disco frequented by American soldiers, a justice official says.

Germany’s intelligence agency has provided prosecutors with message traffic that they say implicates Libya in the disco bombing, justice spokesman Ruediger Reiff said Sunday. Details of the messages were first made public in an advance copy of today’s Der Spiegel news magazine.

The attack on the La Belle discotheque in the early hours of April 5, 1986, killed two American soldiers and a Turkish woman and wounded 230 people. The United States blamed Libya and retaliated with air raids on two Libyan cities.

In explaining the air raids at the time, President Reagan referred to the interception of at least two messages between East Berlin and the Libyan capital.

According to Der Spiegel, a radio message sent to Libya said: ``Expect the results early tomorrow, God willing.″

A telex later intercepted from the Libyan embassy in East Berlin said: ``The action took place at 1:30 (a.m.), without leaving any trail.″

Der Spiegel did not say when the messages are thought to have been transmitted. Reiff did not say how long Germany has had the evidence.

Reiff said a man who worked at Libya’s embassy in East Germany told German investigators last month that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had ordered the attack. The man also was involved in the plot, Reiff said.

Three suspects in the bombing are jailed in Berlin, and a fourth is being held in Greece pending a German extradition request. Germany also has issued warrants for four Libyan fugitives suspected in the attack.

The trial is scheduled for spring.

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