PARIS (Feb. 21)
French authorities are investigating the possibility that five German neo-Nazi terrorists arrested in West Germany and Britain last week were involved in the attack on a Jewish restaurant in Paris last August 9 and in earlier anti-Semitic attacks in Vienna, Berlin and London. A sixth member of the gang is being sought.
They may also have been involved in an attack on a Brussels synagogue last summer and in the machine gun and grenade assault an the main synagogue in Rome last October in which a two year-old child was killed and a number of persons wounded.
The terrorist gang was rounded up as a result of cooperation between French, West German and British police. Three arrested in Frankfurt last Tuesday are Dieter, 22; Hans-Peter Frass, 22; and Helge Blasche, 40. Police found arms and explosives in their hide-out.
Two other suspects, Walter Kexel and Ulrich Tillmann, were arrested in Poole, England last Friday and were presented before a London magistrate today for extradition proceedings.
MEMBERS OF OUTLAWED PARA-MILITARY GROUP
German authorities say Frass, Kexel and Till-man were members of an outlawed neo-Nazi para-military organization that posed as a sports club headed by Karl-Heinz Hoffmann. Hoffmann, arrested several months ago, has been charged with the murder of an Israeli publisher, Shlomo Levin and his woman companion, Frida Poeschke in West Germany in 1980.
French police investigators said today that Kexel and Odfried Hepp, another neo-Nazi suspect detained in Frankfurt, were seen at the Jo Goldenberg restaurant on the Rue Des Rosiers in the old Jewish quarter of Paris last Aug. 9 when a terrorist hit squad killed six people and wounded 22. French detectives will interrogate Kexel and Hepp as soon as legally possible.
‘PALESTINIAN CONNECTION’ SEEN
But French authorities close to the investigation of the restaurant attack remain skeptical that it was a neo-Nazi operation. A senior police official has been quoted as saying that undisclosed evidence and other leads point to a “Palestinian connection.”
Attention was drawn to Kexel because he looks “very much like” a composite drawing of one of the terrorists based on descriptions by eye witnesses to the restaurant attack. On the other hand, witnesses shown actual photographs of Kexel failed to identify him.
Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the French magistrate who heads the investigation of the restaurant attack, has asked British and French authorities for full reports on the terrorists in their custody. Le Monde reported today that the magistrate is still convinced that the terrorists involved came from the Middle East but is looking into the possibility of neo-Nazi collaboration with them. French authorities are said to believe that the neo-Nazis provided that actual hit squad with arms and logistic support.
The French also confirm West German press reports that some of the terrorists arrested last week visited Lebanon on several occasions and were in the West European countries at the time anti-Semitic attacks took place. West German newspapers said some of the neo-Nazis underwent terrorist training at Palestine Liberation Organization camps in Lebanon.