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Several-terrorists Suspected in Rue Copernic Bombing Nabbed in Spain

February 18, 1983
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Spain announced to day that it had arrested several rightwing terrorists who might be responsible for the explosion in the Rue Copernic Synagogue here in October, 1980 which killed four persons and wounded 32 and raised a storm of protest and outrage throughout the world.

French police say, however, that they still believe that the Rue Copernic explosion was carried out by a Palestinian dissident group. The French investigators say they thoroughly studied the possible implication of European rightwing extremists in the bomb attack but that all available clues still lead to a Palestinian terrorist group.

The Spanish government spokesman, Edouardo Sotillo, announced that a number of rightwing extremists, “Less than a dozen, ” have been arrested in Barcelona and Valencia. The men, the Spanish spokesman said, might have been involved in two murderous terrorist attacks: the Rue Copernic synagogue blast and the explosion which killed 84 people at the Bologne railway station in August, 1980.


A Spanish news agency said the terrorists, probably seven, including a couple of Frenchmen and Italians, belong to an extremist organization, “Trama Negra” (The Black Path). The Spanish wire service said the names of the arrested terrorists are not being released as more suspects are being sought.

According to early reports from Madrid, the terrorists sought refuge in Madrid hoping to be protected by rightwing elements there and political survivors of the Franco regime. The search for them was intensified, however, according to these reports after the Socialist electoral victory last October.

French police investigators said today that they are waiting for additional information but that their own clues point in a different direction.

They say they have the names of three of the men believed guilty of the Rue Copernic explosion and they “all sound Arab.” The French investigators say the group, believed to have consisted of five men, came from the Middle East via West Germany. Two of the men used forged Cypriot passports made out to the names of Alexander Panadryu and Joseph Mathias. The two had bought the motorcycles in which they bomb was found.

The current Mitterrand Administration said it is ready to thoroughly study the Spanish lead and French police officials were scheduled to leave for Madrid by tomorrow to join the investigation.

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