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France Condemns Airport Massacre French Official Warned Last Week That French Planes Might Be Used F

June 1, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Informed sources reported here today, after the French government officially condemned the Lydda Airport massacre, that a member of the Israel Embassy had warned a key French official last Friday that “irresponsible elements might use French planes” to mount an attack on Israel. The Israel diplomat delivered the warning to Herve Alphand, the Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry, and also told him that Israel felt insufficient precautions were taken at Orly Airport. He asked Alphand to pass those warnings on to the proper authorities.

Prior to the official French condemnation, Asher Ben Natan, the Israeli envoy to Paris, implied that France had not taken heed “of past Israeli warnings” and that it had not done all It should to prevent such tragic incidents as the carnage. Those charges, also Implicitly made by Premier Golda Heir today at the Knesset, were reportedly transmitted to the French government tonight when Ben Natan conferred for more than an hour with Alphand. The French replied twice to the Israeli charges.

Government spokesman Jean Phillippe Legat read a government statement denying any French responsibility and expressing the French government’s “surprise” over “certain Israeli statements.” Legat, reading from a written statement purportedly prepared by President Georges Pompidou, refused to elaborate on which Israeli statements were meant, when questioned by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


French government sources said today there would be an examination of Air France security precautions. The government sources said Transportation Minister Jean Chamant and Air France officials would report on the incident to a Cabinet session presided over by Pompidou. It was believed the Cabinet would examine the possibility of enforcing stricter security at French airports and aboard French planes. France has been practically the only country not enforcing strict security, reasoning that no Middle Easterners would take advantage of “French neutrality,” according to French officials who refused to be named.

Some 400 French riot police have been stationed for more than a year at Orly Airport, but have been concentrating on protecting planes of El Al Israel Airlines and “other endangered companies.” Normal security precautions include following all planes–those taking off and those landing in police cars and with machine guns at the ready. These measures are not, however, applied to Air France planes, nor are they searched. Individual companies are responsible for security aboard their planes at Orly. Although certain companies, like El Al, Impose stringent security regulations. Air France has refrained from doing so.

Ben Natan, speaking at a meeting inaugurating Israel Week in Grenoble, said, “It is up to the airlines to insure that its passengers do not carry weapons.” He called for a thorough investigation of how the three killers managed to board the Air France Jetliner. An Air France spokesman In Paris said that the arms were probably stored In the killers’ checked luggage. He declined to indicate whether the baggage had been checked at Orly.

(In New York, however, another Air France spokesman said that the killers had boarded the plane at Da Vinci Airport In Rome. He said that he had It confirmed in Paris that the passengers went through normal control in Rome, and that the Italian authorities “would have to speak for their own security measures.”) A Paris airport spokesman said that hand baggage is always inspected, but checked baggage is only subject to spot checks during “calm” periods,

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