NEW YORK (Nov. 29)
A report that arch-terrorist Abu Nidal was under house arrest in Libya could not be confirmed Wednesday.
But wherever he is, the Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith wants him brought to justice.
Leon Klinghoffer, an American Jew confined to a wheelchair as the result of a stroke, was probably the single best known victim of Abu Nidal, whose gang was once described by the U.S. State Department as “the most dangerous terrorist organization in existence.”
Klinghoffer was a passenger aboard the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro when it was hijacked in Egyptian waters on Oct. 7, 1985, by the Abu Nidal group. He was shot to death and thrown overboard.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Abu Nidal was arrested by the Libyan leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, in response to pressure by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The Times quoted Palestine Liberation Organization officials and senior Egyptian diplomats as its sources.
But a report Wednesday in The Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers said that Abu Nidal is in a military hospital in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, with what Algerian medical sources described as “terminal cancer.” The sources denied the house arrest report.
Abu Nidal is wanted by Egypt for the hijacking of an Egyptian airliner in 1985 that ended with the deaths of 56 passengers in Malta.
EXTRADITION TO EGYPT URGED
The PLO also has a score to settle. Abu Nidal, whose real name is Sabry al-Banna, broke with Yasir Arafat in 1973 and has been responsible for the assassinations of PLO officials in Europe and the Middle East.
A brief statement issued by the Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation commended the Egyptian government for insisting that Gadhafi constrain Abu Nidal’s terrorist activities.
But house arrest “is not sufficient,” the statement said. “Until Abu Nidal is prosecuted for his criminal activity, justice will not be served.”
It called on Mubarak “to renew his request that Abu Nidal be extradited to Egypt, where he should be made to answer for his crimes.”
Abu Nidal is held responsible for terrorist acts that have killed or maimed 900 people, in at least 20 countries, since 1974.
His outrages are alleged to include the simultaneous attacks on the Rome and Vienna airports on Dec. 27, 1985, which killed 18 people, including five Americans.
His group also claimed credit for the 1986 machine-gun attack on a synagogue in Istanbul during Sabbath morning services. Twenty-one people died in that bloody assault.