Iran paid Abu Nidal’s terrorist gang to murder the leader of Belgium’s Jewish community, Dr. Joseph Wybran, on Oct. 3, according to “well-informed Israeli sources” cited in a newspaper report here.
The story, headlined in the Jerusalem Post on Monday, stressed that Abu Nidal’s Fatah Revolutionary Council is still active in the international terrorist arena as a kill-for-pay operation. Recent reports in the news media have claimed that Abu Nidal himself is ill and that the terrorist group is inactive.
Wybran, 49, was chairman of the Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organizations, the umbrella organization of Belgium’s 30,000-member Jewish community.
He was shot to death in the parking lot of Erasmus Hospital in Brussels, where he headed the department of immunology, hematology and blood transfusions. The murder remains unsolved.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Wybran’s murder was ordered by Iran to avenge the abduction of Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid by the Israel Defense Force in Lebanon in July.
Obeid is the spiritual leader of a faction of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite extremist group that has close ties with Iran.
Pressure by Hezbollah persuaded the Islamic government in Teheran to put out a contract on Wybran, the report said. It said Abu Nidal had been seeking financial support from Iran to replace his former sponsors, Syria and Libya.
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin hinted at such a connection when he told an audience in Tel Aviv last week that Iran has been in contact recently with “a variety of international terrorist organizations.”
Rabin warned that Israel could expect terrorist acts “coming from Iran’s direction” in the near future. But the Jerusalem Post report did not explain why Wybran would be targeted by Iran.
The only controversial issue in which he was directly involved concerned the relocation of a Carmelite convent from the grounds of the former Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Wybran visited Poland only a week before his death to discuss the matter with government and church officials.
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.