NEW YORK (Nov. 14)
The FBI reportedly is investigating whether Moslem groups had any involvement with the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane.
The accused assassin, El-Sayyid Nosair, 34, appeared for a hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday to assess progress in the case, which was continued pending an indictment hearing next Wednesday.
Nosair, who was wounded by a postal worker following the shooting, was brought to court from a security ward at Bellevue Hospital wearing bandages on his chin and neck.
His attorney, Michal Warren, told Judge Harold Beeler that his client did not wish to testify before a grand jury.
He also took issue with a statement Nosair made after he was arrested, saying his client had been “too heavily sedated to give a coherent statement.”
In the statement, Nosair had told police he was innocent of the Nov. 5 killing here and had just been passing the scene when he was caught in the crossfire between the postal officer and a man wearing a yarmulka.
Although New York police say he acted alone, the FBI is investigating Moslem groups associated with the New Jersey mosque where Nosair worshiped, according to The New York Times.
CONTACTS WITH RADICAL GROUPS
One such group is the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, which has violently opposed the Egyptian government.
Nosair had contacts with such radical groups through the Masjid al-Salam mosque in Jersey City, N.J., the Times said.
It reported that officials at the mosque praised the killing of Kahane, whose extremist anti-Arab proclamations led to his ouster from the Israeli parliament on grounds of racism.
Nosair, described as a quiet, introspective man, has become a hero in the local Moslem community, according to the Times.
The newspaper noted that one of the 300 to 400 worshippers at the mosque, Egyptian-born travel agent Sultan Ibrahim El Gawli, was once convicted of attempting to smuggle explosives and weaponry to the Palestine Liberation Organization for use in Israel.
The newspaper report also said Gawli comes from Port Said and has family ties with Nosair, who immigrated here from Port Said in 1981 and became a U.S. citizen in 1989.
In Jerusalem, meanwhile, a third Kach activist was arrested in connection with last week’s murder of two elderly West Bank Arabs, allegedly committed in retaliation for the assassination of Kahane.
Police on Tuesday night picked up Arye Goldberg of the West Bank settlement of Tekoah after he failed to report for questioning.
Two other suspects in custody for the Nov. 6 killings are Ben-Zion Guffstein and David Axelrod, both known activists in the anti-Arab Kach movement.
The police suspect that Axelrod’s rifle was used by Guffstein in the slaying of Mohammed el-Khatib, 65, and Marian Hassan, 60, in Lubban Sharkiya village midway between Nablus and Ramallah on the West Bank.
Khatib was gunned down from a passing car as he rode his donkey to work. Hassan was killed by the same gunman as she left her house.
(JTA correspondent Gil Sedan in Jerusalem contributed to this report.)