TEL AVIV (Jan. 3)
Abraham Elazar, manager of El Al in Istanbul, was shot to death by unknown assassins who ambushed his car as he drove home from his office at the airport last night. Two terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for the killing. Israeli Transport Minister Heim Londau cabled his Turkish counterpart today to make every effort to apprehend the murderers and bring them to trial.
At noon today, a previously unknown terrorist group in Beirut claimed that its gunmen killed Elazar because he was a “Zionist agent” and warned that it would continue to act against “agents of Zionism and imperialism” all over the world. The group identified itself as “The Encounter Front Against the Camp David Agreement.”
In Istanbul earlier, an anonymous telephone caller told a newspaper that the assailants were members of the “Leninist-Marxist Underground, a group never heard of before and believed, in fact, to be a fake name intended to mislead the police. The caller also claimed that the Israeli airline executive was an agent of Israeli intelligence services. (See late bulletin p.3.)
ALERT DECLARED AT ISRAELI OFFICES
As a result of the murder, an alert was declared at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara and at all other Israeli diplomatic and commercial offices in Turkey. Turkish terrorist groups are known to have close contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization and other Arab terrorist bands. A Turkish terrorist was captured during an Israeli raid on Arab terrorist bases in Lebanon and was handed over to the Turkish authorities.
On the other hand, some Israelis claim that Turkish officialdom is sympathetic to the Palestinians and that they enjoy freedom of movement on Turkish soil. Sources here suggested that the murder of Elazar may have been in retaliation for the recent slaying of two El Fatah officers in Nicosia, Cyprus. A PLO spokesman claimed Israeli agents were responsible.