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Terrorist Sentenced in Absentia to Life for 1982 Synagogue Attack

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A Palestinian terrorist who carried out an attack seven years ago on Rome’s main synagogue was sentenced in absentia here Tuesday to life imprisonment.

Osama Abdel al-Zomar, 28, was convicted by a Rome court of organizing the Oct. 9, 1982, attack, in which a 3-year-old Jewish boy was killed and 37 others wounded.

Last year, Greece refused Italy’s request to extradite Zomar, who was serving a jail term in Greece on charges of smuggling weapons into the country. Zomar was quietly deported from Greece to Libya in December by the Greek justice minister at the time, Vassilis Rotis, who called him a “freedom fighter.”

The Italian government was furious and summoned the Greek ambassador here to ask for an explanation. Rotis was subsequently removed from the justice position, for reasons that remain unclear.

The Italians then asked Libya to extradite Zomar. After determining that Libya would not deport him, Italy proceeded with a trial in absentia.

Most of the evidence in the trial came form Zomar’s former Italian girlfriend, whom he reportedly told he was going to organize the synagogue attack.

Two men who were thought to have acted with him have never been identified. The mastermind of the attack is believed to have been the shadowy Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal.

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