TEL AVIV (Jan. 11)
Haifa police disclosed last night that two passengers from the Italian liner Messapia who were detained for questioning yesterday carried American passports. The passengers were identified as Linda Mahfouz, 26, and Joseph Haddad, 40. Because their names are of Arab origin, they were questioned in connection with four suspected Arab terrorists who were removed Tuesday from the Messapia at Famagusta, Cyprus, and flown to Lebanon. No link was found and the detainees returned to their ship which sailed last night.
The Messapia’s passenger manifest contained only the surnames of the four suspects who carried Afghanistani passports and were bound for Israel. They were listed as Darwish, 30; Jannedin, 31; Khshala, 28 and Nauruz, 24. According to reports from Cyprus the four were planning to commit a major act of sabotage in Israel during their one-day stay and to escape aboard the ship when she sailed. They apparently decided to abandon their mission when they became objects of suspicion of Cypriot police who boarded the vessel at Famagusta, reportedly on a tip from Israeli sources.