Five French-trained Saboteurs Working for Terrorists Caught; Counter-espionage Coup

Israeli police disclosed today the arrests last week of five French-trained saboteurs working for Arab terrorist organizations. The round-up was described as one of the biggest coups of Israel’s counter-espionage service. According to Jacob Turjeman, a police spokesman, it forestalled a wave of sabotage and terror in Israel including a plot to hijack a TWA airliner in flight from Lydda to New York. Turjeman said details of the affair were passed on to Interpol and to the various police forces in Europe which led to the arrest of a group of terrorists in Rome. He told newsmen at a press conference that the first arrest in Israel was made April 11 at Lydda Airport. Police seized two sisters, Nadia and Madeleine Bardly aged 26 and 21, who were caught with forged passports and luggage filled with various types of high explosives. The girls reportedly confessed membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in France. Their father is Moslem and their mother Christian.

On April 12 police arrested 26-year-old Evelyne Brage at Lydda Airport. The German-born woman who was raised in France was said to have been exposed as one of the PFLP members who planned the multiple airliner hijackings of last September. She also reportedly admitted commiting sabotage in a West European country. Police did not release further details. The most bizarre case revealed by Turjeman was the arrest of two French tourists at a Tel Aviv hotel last week who were found in possession of high explosives concealed in shoe heels, clothing lining and in a lady’s handbag. The pair was identified as Pierre Burghalter, 69 and his wife, Edith, 60. According to police the couple was carrying the most sophisticated sabotage device yet known in Israel. It consisted of articles of clothing soaked in a liquid which, when dried, become explosive. The Burghalters allegedly planned to detonate the impregnated articles in schools and other public places. According to police the couple was paid $2,000 to commit sabotage in Israel.

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