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Istanbul Killings Planned in Switzerland, According to U.S. Official

The attack on the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul Saturday was planned by terrorist groups meeting secretly in Switzerland as early as last May, according to an unnamed Reagan Administration specialist on international terrorism, the Swiss Telegraphic Agency reported Tuesday.

The agency published the story which first appeared in La Stampa, a daily newspaper in Torino, Italy. It stated that the American specialist named terrorist groups based in Teheran, Damascus and Tripoli, Libya, which, he said, formed an alliance at the meeting in Switzerland to carry out terrorist acts jointly in various countries.

The synagogue attack in Istanbul, which took 21 lives, was blamed on Hezbollah (Party of God), a pro-Palestinian Lebanese terrorist organization influenced by Iran, the story said.

There have been earlier press reports here of secret international terrorist meetings on Swiss soil. The attacks at the Rome and Vienna airports last year are believed to have been engineered at those meetings. According to the unconfirmed reports, terrorists use the Libyan and Syrian embassies in Switzerland to smuggle arms, prepare logistics for terrorist acts and obtain financing.

Western diplomatic sources here said the La Stampa report was plausible but they could not confirm it.

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