Suspects arrested in 1986 German disco bombing
October 11, 1996
Web posted at: 10:00 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT)
BERLIN (CNN) -- German police announced Friday that after 10
years with no significant leads, they had made arrests in
connection with the 1986 bombing of a discotheque in which
three people died and more than 200 people were injured.
The first two people arrested Thursday night, so far
identified only as Verena C. and Ali C., were being held on
charges of murder and causing an explosion. Their
nationalities were not given by Berlin authorities.
At the time of the bombing, the two, both 37 years old, were
married. The woman, police say, actually planted the bomb
following instructions from her husband.
The arrest of another German woman near Salonika, Greece,
coincided with the arrest of Verena C. Her extradition to
Germany is expected to be prompt since she faces no criminal
charges in Greece.
In addition, Berlin authorities issued arrest warrants for four Libyans. Three of the suspects worked at the Libyan Embassy in Berlin in 1986, and a fourth worked for Libyan intelligence.
Germany: Bombing was Libyan plot
"There is evidence that Libya ordered the attack. This is
clearly a form of state terror," said Berlin Prosecutor
Dieter Neumann. He would not explain what led prosecutors to
the suspected bombers 10 years after the attack took place.
Still another suspect, Yasser Mohammed Chreidi, a
Palestinian, was extradited to Germany in May in connection
with the bombing. He is to be tried in Berlin. Chreidi has
been tied to suspected terrorist Abu Nidal, also a
Palestinian, who lived in and was financed by Libya in the
German prosecutors believe the four suspects for whom
warrants were issued bankrolled the bombing, then returned to
Stasi files didn't point finger
Germany's investigation into the bombing suffered an apparent
setback earlier this year, when one of the prosecutors' key
witnesses died in a Portugal car crash.
Rainier Wiegand, a former official of the East German Stasi
intelligence service, was reputed to have given investigators
Stasi information on Arab guerrillas after German
reunification in 1990.
However, in a news conference, Neumann denied that Stasi
files implicated the couple arrested Friday.
The bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in April 1986 killed
a Turkish woman and two U.S. servicemen, and injured 230
people, including many other U.S. servicemen. At the time of
the bombing, the disco was a well-known hangout for U.S.
Libya was blamed for the bombing, and then-U.S. President
Ronald Reagan retaliated by ordering airstrikes against the
Libyan capital of Tripoli. At least 15 people died in the
U.S. airstrikes, including the 15-month-old daughter adopted
by leader Moammar Gadhafi, and more than 100 were injured .
Berlin Bureau Chief Bill Delaney and Reuters contributed to this report.
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