NEW YORK (Dec. 2)
The alleged assassin of Rabbi Meir Kahane kept what may be a “hit list” of six other Jewish Americans, including members of the judicial system, a congressman and a journalist for The Jewish Press, a weekly Brooklyn newspaper for which Kahane had written a column.
The persons on a list kept by the alleged killer, El Sayyid Nosair, were warned three weeks ago by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and offered physical protection.
The FBI is still maintaining that Nosair, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Egypt, acted alone in the Nov. 5 killing of Kahane at a Manhattan hotel. However, a law enforcement official told the daily New York Newsday, “It certainly adds to suspicions that this was part of some greater plot.”
All but one of the persons on the list were involved in some way with the case of Mahmoud Atta, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Ramallah who was extradited to Israel from New York on Oct. 27. Atta, a naturalized American citizen, is to stand trial for his alleged part in an April 1986 attack on a Jerusalem bus, in which the driver was killed and eight passengers injured.
The exception on the neatly handwritten list, which was found on the first page of Nosair’s address book, is Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who was not involved in the Atta case. A photograph of Ackerman from New York Newsday had been pasted over the list.
The photo had accompanied an article in the paper’s Aug. 4 edition, in which Ackerman had urged President Bush to call on Israel to extradite Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid, whom Israeli troops captured in southern Lebanon in July 1989.
The Shi’ite leader is believed to have been involved in the February 1988 kidnapping and killing of U.S. Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins.
The list also included the names of two federal judges, Edward Korman and Jack Weinstein; a former assistant U.S. attorney, Jacques Simmelman; and Howard Adelman, a columnist for The Jewish Press. A sixth person on the list involved has not been identified.
Atta, who also uses the name Mahmoud el-Abed Ahmad, is a suspected member of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization, which has promised it would respond to Atta’s extradition.