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Austria Keeps Promise to Terrorists; Schoenau Transit Camp Closes

Blackmail threats by Arab terrorists paid off as the Austrian government announced today that Schoenau Castle would be closed after the last group of Soviet Jewish transients leave for Israel this week. Chancellor Bruno Kreisky ordered the transit center closed on Sept. 29 in exchange for the release of three Jewish hostages and one Austrian customs official seized by two Arab gunmen Sept. 28. Following a worldwide wave of protests against this decision which was described by Israel as a great victory for terrorists Kreisky said he had decided to close the center before the terrorist incident because the camp was a “permanent security risk.”

New emigrants from the Soviet Union will be brought to a Red Cross station at Woellersdorf, lower Austria, for a short one day stopover before being flown to Israel, government officials said. A large Red Cross insignia had been painted on the roof of the former army barracks in Woellersdorf which looks more like an internment camp than an aid station, with its barbed wire fences and Austrian police guarding the outskirts.

The Woellersdorf village council, however, protested against the shift from Schoenau to Woellersdorf, some 25 miles south of Vienna. Situated near a highway from Vienna to the southwest, the aid station is an easy target for terrorist attacks, a spokesman for the village council said. But Fredrich Proksch, chief of the Austrian Red Cross denied that there was any threat to the village population. “I am with the Red Cross for 25 years and I have never heard-that anybody disregarded the Geneva Convention protecting Red Cross stations.” he said.

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