WINTERTHER, SWITZERLAND (Nov. 30)
A former El Al security guard described in court Friday how he gunned down one of tour Arab terrorists who attacked an Israel airliner at Zurich Airport last Feb. 18. Mordechai Rachamim. who is on trial for manslaughter and faces a possible five-year jail sentence, said the terrorist was armed with a Kalachnikof automatic, rifle and made what appeared to be a threatening gesture. “It was then that I fired three shots at him” Mr. Rachamim said. The terrorist was killed instantly.
The Israeli described the scene in response to a question from the president of the court, Judge Hans Gut. He said, “I started running in a wide circle towards the barrier behind which the Arabs had been shooting at the plane. I ran in a very wide circle to draw their fire toward me and prevent them from hitting the plane because I feared that any moment bullets might reach the fuel tanks and cause an explosion.”
The three surviving Arab terrorists are being tried for murder in the same court. Their attack fatally wounded an Israeli pilot trainee, Yoram Peress. The Arabs’ defense counsel, Walter Huber, told the court that they will persist in their refusal to make any statement. He said their decision to remain silent was forced on them by “certain advisers.” The advisers apparently were members of the Arab lawyers association who held a press conference to explain why they told the defendants not to speak. They sought to cast doubts about the legality of the court and upon its impartiality. One of the defendants spoke briefly, He claimed that Switzerland favored Israel and that the trial was being held there because the country was the scene of the first Zionist Congress, held at Basle in 1897. This “terrible event” led to the creation of the State of Israel, according to Youssef Tawfik, and has continued to prejudice the minds of many Swiss people in favor of Israel.