Menu JTA Search

Palestinian Wanted in Israel Arrested at Jfk Airport

A member of the Palestine Liberation Organization who is a naturalized United States citizen was arrested Wednesday at Kennedy International Airport here for his role in attacking a bus in Israel last year. In the attack, the bus driver was killed and two passengers injured.

The man, Mahmoud Al Abd Ahmad, 33, was held on an extradition warrant by the Israeli government and was to be arraigned Thursday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. He is charged with murder and attempted murder in the attack on an Egged civilian bus in Beit Arieh near Latrun on April 12, 1986. Israeli authorities filed a complaint for Ahmad’s arrest yesterday, according to the FBI.

Ahmad was identified by an F.B.I. spokesman, Joseph Valiquette, who said Ahmad was taken into F.B.I. custody in Caracas, Venezuela, after Venezuelan authorities arrested him recently on immigration charges. Valiquette said Ahmad entered Venezuela illegally and was expelled from the South American country Wednesday. He arrived in New York at 3 p.m. aboard a Pan Am flight and was taken to F.B.I. headquarters in New York.

According to Barukh Binah, Israel press consul in New York, Ahmad is accused of taking part in the attack in which two of the passengers of the bus were wounded and the driver, Shlomo Hatuka, was killed. The bus was enroute from Shomron to Tel Aviv.

Binah said that “the attack was with a burst of gunfire and a Molotov cocktail. There were two people, one caught on the spot, and the other fled.” Two organizations took responsibility for the attack, El Fatah and Abu Nidal.

When Israel learned Ahmad was in Venezuela, it applied through its Washington Embassy for his detention pending an official extradition request, which Israel must file in 60 days, based on the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Israel, Binah said.

Ahmad became a U.S. citizen in Puerto Rico in 1982, but the FBI said it doesn’t know where he has been living since then.

Valiquette said that although bail is normally set, in this case there is no bail. He remains in custody of the U.S. Marshall at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan pending Israel’s formal extradition request.

NEXT STORY