WASHINGTON (Aug. 28)
An Administration official said today that the “complaint” against Israel for diverting a Lebanese airliner Aug. 10 would be taken up by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Extraordinary Assembly which opened today in Rome. But he expressed hope that the ICAO will “look at the whole picture and general enforcement procedures” against air piracy. Ambassador Lewis Hoffbacker, head of the working group of President Nixon’s Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism, did not elaborate.
He made the remark after reporting at a press briefing that international political terrorism, backed by new sources of finance and supported by governments sympathetic to terrorist groups, is increasing and seems to be moving into the United States. Hoffbacker declined to identify either the sources or the governments.
ARABS EXPECTED TO DEMAND SANCTIONS
The ICAO agreed in Rome tonight to debate the Israeli interception of the Lebanese airliner Aug. 10. The 128-member body also decided to discuss measures against hijackings by states as opposed to such acts by individuals. The debate on the Aug. 10 incident was requested by Lebanon with the backing of all Arab states. The Arabs are expected to demand sanctions against Israel and its ouster from the ICAO.
Today’s news briefing by Hoffbacker followed the explosion of a letter bomb at the British Embassy here yesterday which severed the left hand and severely wounded the right hand of Mrs. Nora Murray, a 51-year-old secretary. In the course of the briefing, Hoffbacker also referred to the unsolved July 1 murder of Col. Yosef Alon, the Naval and Air Attache of the Israeli Embassy here. Alon was gunned down outside his home as he returned from an Embassy party.
FBI STILL PROBING ALON MURDER
Asked if that was a “political murder,” Hoffbacker replied, “We have to speculate with you on that.” He said the FBI still has the case “under intensive investigation” but has declined to characterize it as either a political killing or an ordinary street crime.
Hoffbacker said that in approximately the past year since the President’s Cabinet Committee was formed after the Sept. 5, 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, it has learned that 195 letter bombs have been mailed internationally and seven of them have been intercepted in the U.S. One exploded prematurely. He declined to identify the source of the letter bombs. He said India had uncovered 72. Hoffbacker said measures to stem terrorist activities include mandatory visa requirements for the approximately 600,000 foreigners who visit the U.S. annually.