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Second Trial of Palestinian Terrorist Ends with Life Sentence, As Did the First

The second trial of Palestinian terrorist Bahij Younis has ended here with a conviction and life sentence, the same outcome as his first trial which was invalidated on a technicality.

Younis was found guilty of complicity in the assassination of Vienna City Councilman Heinz Nittel and the terrorist attack on the Jewish community center here two years ago in which two persons were killed and 20 wounded. He was also convicted of illegal possession of weapons and other war material.

Younis had been accused specifically of masterminding the fatal shooting of Nittel who was president of the Austria-Israel Friendship Society and inciting the attack on the community center. The murder weapon used to kill Nittel was found in his apartment as were the passports of two other Palestinian terrorists who did the actual killing and are serving life sentences.

Austrian authorities attribute both terrorist acts to an extremist Palestinian splinter group, Al Asifa, headed by a terrorist known as Abu Nidal who lives in Baghdad. Al Asifa has been implicated in the assassination of Palestine Liberation Organization representatives in Europe, notably the moderate Issam Sartawi, as well as attacks on Jewish institutions and business establishments in various capitals.

The Austrian authorities believe that Al Asifa’s activities disrupted PLO mainline policy in Western Europe, although an Austrian journalist contended during Younis’ trial that several secret services were involved in that effort and Al Asifa was only a front.

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