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Newspaper Says Airport Bombing Blamed on Abu Nidal Terrorists

July 28, 1988

FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ Investigators have blamed the fatal 1985 Frankfurt bombing on Abu Nidal’s terrorist group and found a possible Libyan connection, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The Frankfurter Neue Presse said a special commission of law enforcement officials had identified the attackers and authorities were seeking arrest warrants for Abu Nidal and three alleged accomplices.

Hans-Juergen Foerster, spokesman for the chief federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe, told The Associated Press the commission had ″firmed up″ suspicions against Abu Nidal and his supporters but denied warrants were being sought.

For more than three years, West German investigators have tried to pin down who planted the bomb that exploded in crowded passenger terminal at Frankfurt Airport on June 19, 1985, killing three people and wounding 42. They had expressed suspicion of the Palestinian terrorist group before.

Foerster’s office is represented on the commission and acts as its spokesman, but also is conducting its own inquiry.

Hesse state officials established the commission a few months after the bombing.

Abu Nidal is a former Jerusalem school teacher and his real name is Sabry al-Banna. He is based in Libya and Syria.

Israeli, Arab and Western intelligence agencies have accused him of directing scores of terrorist attacks since he broke in 1976 with Fatah, the mainstream guerrilla faction led by Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat. Abu Nidal has been blamed for coordinated assaults at Rome and Vienna airports Dec. 27, 1985, in which 20 people were killed.

His group also was linked by Greek authorities to the terrorist attack July 11 on the City of Poros cruise ship, in which nine people were killed and 98 wounded.

According to the newspaper, the West German panel also decided agents of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the Libyan leader, may have played a role in the attack.

″The investigations have shown that the Libyan People’s Bureau in Bonn, as the embassy is called, had knowledge of the attack,″ it said. ″Whether it was involved in the preparation and execution still cannot be proven.″

Foerster did not say when Kurt Rebmann, the chief federal prosecutor, might be ready to file criminal charges.