PARIS (Dec. 28)
French police confirmed last Friday that they were in possession of a letter which could prove that the man who led last Sunday’s attack against the headquarters of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, was in fact the international terrorist known as Carlos here and in London.
The leader of the Vienna group, who bragged he was the same man who shot down two French counter-espionage agents and a Lebanese informer, Michel Moukharbal, here last summer, handed a letter to one of the hostages. Venezuelan Mining Minister Valentin Hernandez Acosta. A copy of this letter, which was addressed to Carlos’ mother, is now in the hands of French police following a stopover here by the Venezuelan Minister.
A comparison between the handwriting of the letter and that found on documents seized by French and British police after Carlos killed the security agents in cold blood will serve to confirm whether the man who staged the OPEC operation was in fact the Venezuelan-born terrorist. French police said.
Carlos whose real name is Ilitch Sanchez Ramirez, is believed to have been involved in several terror attacks in Western Europe. Carlos has sought asylum in Algeria and it is doubtful that Algerian authorities will answer positively to demands for his extradition from France and Austria.
Meanwhile, the French state security court yesterday released on provisional liberty a young Colombian woman who was jailed last July in connection with Carlos’ activities. Ms. Amparo Silva Masmela, 28, faces charges of possession of arms and explosives as well as complicity with agents of a foreign power.
Ms. Masmela, who worked as a secretary in a British bank here, was arrested together with a British woman, Angola Armstrong shortly after Carlos shot the French agents last June. The Colombian woman said during questioning that she helped Carlos because she loved him.