Carlos the Jackal, the international terrorist arrested this week in the Sudan, has a long history of suspected involvement in attacks against Jewish targets.
One of the world’s most wanted and infamous terrorists, Carlos is widely believed to have masterminded the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic games.
In Israel, Defense Ministry officials expressed their deep gratification over Carlos’ arrest on Monday.
And the Anti-Defamation League called his arrest “a tremendous victory in the fight against international terrorism.”
The Venezuelan-born Carlos was arrested in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum by the DST, France’s counterintelligence agency, the French Interior Ministry announced Monday.
According to a statement issued by the Sudanese government, security agents in Khartoum turned Carlos over to French officials, who transferred him to a Paris jail.
A French court sentenced Carlos in absentia to life imprisonment in 1992 for his role in the killing of two French intelligence agents. Despite his previous conviction, according to French law he is expected to be retried for murder and terrorist activities. He was scheduled to be formally indicted on Tuesday.
CARLOS REPORTEDLY PLANNING KHARTOUM ATTACK
Reports from Sudan indicate that Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, was about to carry out terrorist attacks against Western interests in Khartoum. Observers in Paris said that Sudanese authorities delivered Carlos to the French as part of an effort to change their reputation as supporters of terrorist activities.
French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua said this week that the French secret services had been searching for Carlos since 1975.
Pasqua estimated that Carlos was responsible for the deaths of 83 people worldwide, including at least 15 French citizens during the past two decades.
Carlos’ long history of suspected involvement in attacks against Jewish targets dates back to the beginning of his terrorist career in 1970, when he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Damascus-based alliance of militant groups that considers Israel its eternal foe.
The son of a wealthy communist lawyer, Carlos was sent by his father in the late 1960s to Cuba, where he was trained in subversive activities by the KGB. Later, he went to study at a Moscow university, where he befriended PFLP members and joined the group.
He was subsequently expelled from the university because the PFLP was then regarded by Soviet authorities as a pro-Chinese organization.
According to various intelligence reports, Carlos helped plan the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, an operation carried out by factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization operating under the name of the Black September movement.
Despite the widespread speculation of his involvement in the Munich massacre, at least one Israeli terrorism expert this week questioned the charges.
Israel never adduced any concrete evidence linking Carlos to the Munich massacre, according to Dr. Joseph Alpher of Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.
Carlos is also believed to have been involved in the 1976 hijacking of an Air France jetliner to Entebbe, Uganda. The hijacking prompted a daring Israeli commando operation to rescue the flight’s Jewish hostages.
That same year, he claimed responsibility for the 1973 shooting and wounding of a prominent British Jewish millionaire, Edward Sieff, whose family owns the Marks and Spencer department store chain.
In the early 1980s, Carlos was believed to be working for Syria in an operation aimed at overthrowing the Iraqi government.
According to some reports, he led a Libyan hit squad that was planning to kill President Reagan in 1981.
He was also considered a leading planner of numerous other terrorist activities, including the 1975 attack on OPEC headquarters in Vienna, in which three were killed and 11 taken hostage in a $1 billion hostage drama.
In 1982, he threatened attacks on France unless it released two of his agents, one of whom later became his wife. The French government later blamed Carlos for a series of bombings in Paris and Marseilles that killed 13 people and left more than 120 wounded.
By the mid-1980s, Carlos dropped out of sight, and his activities were the subject of numerous speculations.
Carlos had reportedly been living in Damascus since 1986 with his wife Magdalena Kopp, a West German terrorist.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.