NEW YORK (Jul. 25)
The leader of the Jewish community of Lima, Peru, survived an attack on his life on Tuesday, according to several reports.
Jacobo (Yaacov) Hasson, secretary of the Association Judia del Peru, was wounded in the hand by machine gun fire, but continued to drive his car down a Lama avenue near his home after unknown assailants fired at him. The assailants fled and were not compared An explosive device was also reportedly hurled at the car.
Israel Radio reported that Lima police had arrested several people at the local office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
A Lima police official said three suspected Arab terrorists recently released from jail may have been responsible, Israel Radio reported.
News sources quoted Lima’s official, Jacobo Miskin, as saying Hasson had “been having problems with commandos of the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
Hasson was among the targets two years ago of a gang of Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorists, who had planned to attack synagogues, the Israeli Embassy and the U.S. Cultural Center in Lima.
The three terrorists who were apprehended at that time by police were released for lack of evidence, Israel Radio said.
Hasson identified Tuesday’s assailants as Peruvian, his family reportedly said.
EIGHT BODY WOUNDS
According Warren Eisenberg, director of the International Council of B’nai B’rith Intentional, which has a lodge in Lima, the attackers were to men and two women.
Eisenberg said that Hasson sustained eight wounds on his hands and arms and has undergone surgery to reconstruct muscles.
Hasson’s life was saved when the attackers’ machine gun jammed and a jeep with naval personnel drove by, at which point the terrorists fled, Eisenberg said.
Hasson’s family reported that there were 32 impacts from the attack found on his car, according to the World Jewish Congress.
Lima has been rocked by violence from unidentified terrorist groups as the country prepares for Saturday’s inauguration of a new president, Alberto Fujimori. Terrorists appear to be vying for attention and trying to destabilize the country.
There was no reason given for attacking the head of the Jewish community at this time. Staff members at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington said Wednesday they had no information about the attack on Hasson.
Of the country’s total population of 19.7 million, only about 5,000 are Jews. An estimated 90 percent of them are of Eastern European origin, particularly from Bessarabia, according to the book “Diaspora” by Howard Sachar.
The influx of Ashkenazic Jews added to what was once a largely Sephardic and even Marrano population.