OTTAWA (Jan. 24)
A terrorist group in Lebanon has threatened to take Canadians hostage if the government deports Mahmoud Muhammad Issa Muhammad, a convicted Palestinian terrorist scheduled to appear in Toronto federal court Monday for a deportation hearing.
The External Affairs Ministry issued an advisory to Canadian citizens not to travel to Lebanon. It estimates there are 500 to 1,000 Canadian nationals in that country, including persons holding dual citizenship.
A foreign news agency in Beirut reported over the weekend that it received the threat in the form of a letter from a hitherto unheard of group calling itself “The Strugglers for the Liberation of Palestine.”
Issa Muhammad entered Canada a year ago after obtaining an immigrant visa under false pretenses from the Canadian Consulate in Madrid. He is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
In 1970, a Greek court convicted Issa Muhammad of the 1968 bombing of an Israeli airliner at Athens airport, in which one man was killed. He was sentenced to 17 years and 5 months in prison, but was freed a year later in a hostage exchange.
John Turner, head of the opposition Liberal Party, declared that “Canada cannot give in to terrorist threats. Proceedings should continue.”
Deputy Immigration Minister Jerry Weiner told the House of Commons last week that Issa Muhammad “may either leave voluntarily or as a result of a deportation order. Our objective is to get this man out of the country.”