A “hit team” of Arab terrorists were planning to bomb several Jewish establishments in Brussels and Antwerp and attack Brussels International Airport passengers arriving from Israel. The Belgian police, which arrested a second Arab terrorist in Brussels on Monday, found in a locker at Brussels main railway station Gare du Nord a briefcase which, it is believed, contained detailed descriptions of possible targets, methods of access and possible escape routes.
On Sunday, Belgian police arrested a man in Antwerp minutes after he tossed two hand grenades at a group of Jewish teenagers and adults waiting to board a bus for summer camp. David Kohane, 15, was killed and 20 other persons were wounded, one of whom, 13-year-old Joshua Erblich, remains in critical condition. The terrorist gave his name as Abdel Wahid, born in Damascus. He said he arrived in Antwerp from Rome Sunday with a forged Moroccan passport made out in the name of Zayed Nasser.
The Belgian police’s “Special Branch” has been mobilized, with all leaves cancelled, to try and pin down all possible suspects. The Belgian government has given top priority to the identification and arrest of all the culprits.
Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens on Monday visited the wounded in their Antwerp hospitals, and the King, himself hospitalized with a mild heart attack, personally cabled the families of the victims and the Antwerp Jewish community to express his sympathy.
BELIEVE NETWORK CENTER IS IN ROME
The Belgians have asked for the aid of West German authorities to try to identify a young German woman, known under the code name of Lyna Nablusy, who, according to Nasser, gave him the grenades and the heavy caliber automatic pistol with 18 bullets found on him at the time of his arrest.
Belgian police have also asked for the assistance of the Israeli authorities, the French and the Italian police. The Belgians believe that the center of the network is in Rome where the terrorists, a small fanatic gang apparently unconnected with the mainstream of Palestinian organizations, might have been in close contact with Italian extreme leftwing terrorist organizations.
SECOND ARRESTED TERRORIST IDENTIFIED
The second arrested terrorist, who carried a Tunisian passport with the same name as the one arrested in Antwerp, Zayed Nasser, had in his possession Russian-made grenades, similar to those used in the deadly Antwerp attack.
The man was arrested in a small hotel in Brussels’ Saint Gilles area, close to the main railway station, where most of the terrorist activities seemed to have been concentrated. Belgian State Prosecutor Renoat Verheyden said in Brussels Monday that the second man had also told the police that he had acted on behalf of an organization called “The Revolutionary Fatah” and had received his orders by mail from an address in Saudi Arabia. Nasser told police he also acted on behalf of the same organization.
The prosecutor refused to say whether the second man, the Tunisian, had been in contact with the mysterious German woman. Police sources unofficially say that the two men had met the woman whom they knew under her code name.
ANTWERP KILLER’S STORY
The Antwerp killer told police investigators be had first met the woman in Lebanon where she attended terrorist classes in a Palestinian training camp. In his orders to attack Belgian Jewish institutions he was told that he would meet her at a certain date and hour in a Brussels central square, Porte de Namur. He received his orders in Rome, also by mail, and also from a Saudi Arabian address.
The orders told him that should he have forgotten what she looked like he would recognize her by a gold medallion which she would be wearing around her neck. He was also given the passwords. He was to say “Palestine” and the woman would reply “victory.” After meeting her, they went to his hotel room where she gave him the two grenades and the loaded pistol and 18 bullets.
Nasser described the woman as about 23 years old, tall, slim and with shoulder-long dark brown hair, dressed in jeans and a tee shirt. He said that since their meeting at the Porte de Namur and the hotel where she gave him the weapons, they had not met again.
According to police sources, the killer who has remained throughout the interrogation calm and even relaxed, is fully cooperating with the police, apparently not realizing the gravity of his crime. When first arrested Sunday afternoon he reportedly told the two policeman who arrested him: “Why do you detain me? I did nothing to Belgians. I only hit Jews.”
HAD BEEN IN BELGIUM BEFORE
According to the police, the man come to Belgium on several occasions. The first known time was on April 2 and he remained in the country until May 11 when he flew to Rome. He came again on June 11 and remained until June 28, apparently trying to pinpoint likely targets for his attack. He last came to Belgium a few days before the Sunday attack and visited Antwerp extensively.
People living in the Antwerp area where the Agudat Israel Community Center is located, say that for several days before the attack they saw a number of Arabs walk or drive up and down the strictly Jewish street.
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.