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Israel Panther Leader Denies Reports of Contacts with Japanese Terrorists

Avraham Bitton, a Black Panther leader, denied today that any of the dissident group’s present leadership has had contact with the Japanese terrorist organization responsible for last week’s massacre at Lydda Airport. Bitton was responding to a report yesterday in the newspaper Yediot Achronot which claimed that a member of the Japanese Red Star movement recently had contacts with the Panthers and the Mao-ist Matzpen group in Israel.

According to the newspaper, a Japanese posing as a newspaperman met with Reuben Abergil, a Panther leader, and proposed cooperation with “various factions in Europe,” but Abergil turned down the overture because it was suspicious, Yediot Achronot said. Abergil, who is training outside Jerusalem as a youth counselor was not available for comment. The newspaper did not identify the Matzpen members allegedly contacted by the Red Star man or the result of their meeting.

It was learned, however, that the Red Star, which has been responsible for at least 14 assassinations and one aerial hijack in Japan in recent years, has connections with anarchist groups in various parts of the world. These are said to include the West German Bader Meinhof group, the Topamaros of Latin America and the Turkish, Persian and Irish undergrounds. Emissaries of these or other anarchist groups are believed to have visited Israel in the guise of newspapermen and press photographers. They paid special attention to demonstrations and encounters between dissidents and Israeli police.

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