Israeli Official Says There is Evidence Terrorists Caused Swiss Airline Explosion

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday that evidence uncovered by Swiss authorities confirmed that Arab terrorists were responsible for the fatal crash of a Swiss air jet near Zurich on Feb. 21 and the mid-air explosion that forced an Austrian airliner to make an emergency landing at Frankfurt on the same day. Both planes were bound for Israel and were believed to have been carrying time bombs in their mail compartments. The crash of the Swiss air plane took the lives of 47 passengers and crew members, including 16 Israelis and eight Americans. The Foreign Ministry statement was prompted by reports from Zurich linking the Austrian and Swiss air explosions. West German police in Frankfurt have arrested a Palestinian Arab, 27 year-old Jaser Qasem on suspicion of having helped mail the bomb that exploded in the Austrian airliner. Qasem and an accomplice picked up with him, Issa Abdullah Toboul, 30, of Jerusalem, were linked with two other Arabs suspected of masterminding the Austrian and Swiss air bomb plots.

(Memorial services for the victims were conducted at the International Synagogue at Kennedy Airport in New York yesterday and simultaneously at the airport’s Catholic and Protestant Chapels. About 1000 persons attended the services at the synagogue which is maintained by the New York Board of Rabbis. According to Rabbi Eugene J. Cohen, the airport suspended all take-offs while Cantor David Koussevitzky chanted the Kaddish–prayer for the dead. He said a message of condolence was received from Dr. Walter Berchthald, president of Swiss air in Zurich. The congregation was addressed briefly by Capt. John Ferguson, chairman of the air safety committee of the American Airline Pilots Association.)

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