ROME (Dec. 11)
Italy is turning to Col. Moammar Gadhafi of Libya for the extradition of a Palestinian terrorist who flew there last week, after he was freed by Greece.
The Italian authorities want to prosecute Abdel Osama al-Zomar, a member of the Abu Nidal terrorist gang who was “deported” by Greece Dec. 7 to a country of his choice, Greece freed the terrorist, despite Italy’s extradition request, which had been pending for more than six years.
Zomar is the prime suspect in the Oct. 9, 1982, machine-gun and grenade attack on the main synagogue in Rome, which left 2-year-old Stefano Tache dead and 40 people wounded.
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti, attending a NATO meeting in Brussels said, “Italy will ask Gadhafi to extradite Zomar, given liberty in Greece by means of a very surprising decision.”
Also attending the Brussels meeting was the Greek foreign minister, Karolos Papoulias, who reportedly was told by Andreotti that Italy was astonished by Athens’ move.
U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, also in Brussels for the NATO meeting, said he was “shocked” by the Greek decision. He called it “a blow to the fight against terrorism.”
Libya is considered highly unlikely to extradite Zomar, Gadhafi is said to bankroll the training of terrorists.
(JTA correspondent Yossi Lempkowicz in Brussels contributed to this report.)