Professor arrested for Paris bombing


French authorities are seeking the extradition of a sociology professor suspected in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that left four dead and more than 30 injured.

Hassan Diab, 54, a dual Lebanese-Canadian citizen who lectures in sociology at the University of Ottawa, was arrested Thursday by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers acting on a French request for extradition. French authorities have 45 days to prove their case for extradition.

He is accused of  planting a bomb in a truck near a synagogue on Rue Copernic, in a wealthy eastern Paris neighborhood. Authorities believe a Palestinian faction planned the attack on Oct. 3, 1980, to target Jews as they walked out of Sabbath prayers.

Diab claimed he was innocent and a victim of a name mix-up. His arrest marks the the culmination of years of international anti-terrorist investigations.

In a statement, the French Jewish umbrella group, CRIF, praised the arrest, saying the attack was the first in France since World War II that "targeted Jews because they were Jews."  The CRIF thanked investigators for their 28 years of perseverance in the case.

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