PARIS (Sep. 28)
A French magazine is offering purported testimony that Lt. Col. William Higgins, the American Marine who was kidnapped by Hezbollah, was killed more than a year before Israel abducted the Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid.
The magazine also hints that British Anglican Church representative Terry Waite, who was himself kidnapped in January 1987, and another unnamed American might have been executed together with Higgins.
On Thursday, Paris Match, the popular French news and entertainment magazine, printed what it says is a Photostat copy of a handwritten letter, dated July 8, 1988, from then Iranian Premier Mir Hussein Mussavi to the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, informing him of Higgins’ execution by “our Hezbollah brothers in South Lebanon.”
Obeid, who Israel charges led Hezbollah activities in Lebanon and masterminded terrorist acts, was abducted July 28 and brought to Israel. Following that act, Hezbollah claimed it executed Higgins in retaliation for Obeid’s abduction.
The copy of the letter that appears in Paris Match is marked “confidential and urgent” and says Higgins was executed in reprisal for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner in July 1988 by the U.S. Naval ship Vincennes in the Persian Gulf.
The magazine said the Lebanese Hezbollah kept the killing of the American officer secret, intending to use the information at a later date.