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Japanese Terrorist Expresses Regret for 1972 Airport Massacre

For the first time since his arrest 10 years ago, Kozo Okamoto, the Japanese Red Army terrorist serving a life sentence for the 1972 Ben Gurion Airport massacre, has expressed regret for killing. But at a meeting yesterday in prison with Kyoto University law professor Idio Oyeshi, Okamoto reaffirmed his allegiance to the terrorist organization.

On May 30, 1972 three Japanese gunmen sprayed machinegun fire and tossed grenades into a crowded passenger terminal at the arrivals terminal at the airport. Among the 30 who were killed were 16 Christian pilgrims from Puerto Rico, 12 Israelis and two of the gunmen. In addition, 73 people were wounded.

The Japanese professor held a two-hour meeting with the prisoner in the office of Ramle prison warden David Peri. During the meeting Oyeshi song nursery songs to Okamoto, who joined in and slowly began to shed his usual reticence, until now maintained even with other Japanese visitors.

The prisoner told his visitor he had joined the terrorist organization after two unhappy love affairs. Prison spokesman later quoted Okamoto as saying he had broken his customary silence “because the professor simply spoke to me with songs from my childhood.” Okamo to does not mix with other prisoners and has a cell to himself.

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