New clues to bombing of Jewish sites in Sydney


SYDNEY (JTA) — Australian police say they have uncovered new clues in the 1982 bombings of the Israeli Consulate and the Hakoah Club in Sydney.

At a news conference Monday, police said they had traveled for the first time to Israel to interview former consulate staff and witnesses of the bombings, which took place just hours apart on Dec. 23, 1982.

"We are working with the authorities in Israel," New South Wales Police Detective Chief Superintendent Wayne Gordon said. "We are working with the Jewish community and advising some of the leaders on a regular basis as to the operational information that is appropriate.”

The cold case was reopened in August with new technology enabling police to focus on two men possibly connected to the May 15 organization, a Baghdad-based offshoot of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Investigators from Operation Forbearance, which also involves Australian Federal Police and Australia’s spy agency, now are also pursuing a woman who picked up the car that was used to set off the bomb in the car park underneath the Hakoah Club.

All three suspects were thought to have been in their mid-20s at the time and are probably still alive, Gordon said.

In the consulate bombing, a bomb exploded inside the stairwell. The consulate was based in the Westfield Towers, the headquarters of Holocaust survivor Frank Lowy’s shopping mall empire.

Nearly five hours later, another blast ripped through the car park underneath the Hakoah Club in Bondi, which reportedly had more than 200 people inside.

Two people were injured at the consulate, one seriously. No one was killed at either venue. Police believe the Bondi bomb was intended to collapse the building. One man was charged but the case was later dropped due to lack of evidence.

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