Girl Terrorist’s Confession Read at Military Trial Says Member of Grand Mufti’s Family Planned Saben

A member of the influential Houseini family of Jordan planned the attempt to hijack the Sabena airliner in May, according to the confession read today in the Sarafand military court from one of the two Arab girls on trial for their part in the abortive attempt. Rimma Tannous and Therese Khalsa went on trial yesterday before a three-member military tribunal qualified to impose the death penalty.

The confession to police by Miss Tannous, 21, identified the hijack planner as the son of Abdul Kader el Houseini. One member of that family was the notorious Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who entered an alliance with Hitler before World War II to carry on the Nazi war against the Jews in Palestine. The father headed a number of Arab gangs who fought the Jews immediately after the United Nations partition resolution in 1948.

Miss Tannous’ confession cited a sordid history, including, she told the police, a series of rapes, torture and drugs at the hands of Arab guerrillas which she said led to her participation in the hijack attempt. Born in Amman, she was orphaned as a child and taken to a Bethlehem convent and then adopted by the Tannous family, taking the family name. She said she was raped by the oldest son of the family, requiring the services of a doctor, who proved to be not only a hot-blooded lover but also an active member of a terrorist group.

She told police the doctor took her to his hospital where she became his mistress and then made her join a terrorist group. She said that during the 1970 clashes between the Jordanian army and guerrillas based in Jordan she was taken from the hospital–where she was by then a staff nurse–to Syria and then to Lebanon where the guerrillas found her very attractive physically. Between frequent love affairs, she told the police, she was trained in handling arms and explosives.

Earlier this year, she said in her confession, she was sent with a terrorist named Youssouf to Frankfurt and the two went to Brussels where they met Miss Khalsa and the other male terrorist where they boarded the Sabena plane and took control over Zagreb in Yugoslavia.

Miss Khalsa’s story to the police was much the same as that of her co-defendant, except that she expressed regret for her participation in the hijack attempt which ended May 9 at Lydda Airport when Israeli army commandoes stormed the plane and killed the two male terrorists in freeing the airliner and its nearly 100 passengers. Miss Khalsa’s father, who attended the trial, said later he wished his daughter, who was wounded in the seizure of the plane, had died in the hospital. He said “We do not want to become public property and a public interest. We are a respected Christian family in Acre.”

“Jerusalem, Face of a City,” an exhibition commemorating the 25th anniversary of Israel. is to be shown in five West German cities next year. The $350,000 exhibition will be held in Munich, Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin and Cologne.

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