Norwegian citizen held for 1982 Paris attack by Abu Nidal faction

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A Norwegian citizen in his 60s has been arrested in southern Norway at the request of France as a suspect in a 1982 attack on a deli in the heart of Paris’ Jewish quarter that left six dead and injured 22, a Norwegian newspaper reported on Wednesday

The man, who was not identified, faces a custody hearing on Thursday, the Dagbladet newspaper said, citing the Norwegian Police Security Service, or PST. He was arrested in the town of Skien on a European arrest warrant. PST didn’t immediately confirm the arrest.

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Palestinians throwing grenades burst into the Jo Goldenberg deli on Aug. 9, 1982, and sprayed machine-gun fire. Six people, including two Americans, were killed, and 22 injured in the attack.

Dagbladet said it was the second time that France had requested the man arrested.

A general view of the scene of a deadly attack on the Jo Goldenberg Jewish restaurant and deli, in Paris, France, August 9, 1982. (AP)
A general view of the scene of a deadly attack on the Jo Goldenberg Jewish restaurant and deli, in Paris, France, August 9, 1982. (AP)

French authorities announced nearly 33 years after the attack that international arrest warrants had been issued for the suspects, now in their late 50s and early 60s, who are believed to have been members of the Abu Nidal Palestinian extremist group.

Souhaur Mouhamad Hassan Khalil Al-Abbassi was arrested in Jordan in 2015. He is one of three suspects in the attack sought by French authorities. The other two are believed to be in the Palestinian territories and in Norway, according to French authorities.

Described as an asylum seeker who arrived in Norway in 1992, the man has denied having been in Paris, the Norwegian daily wrote. In 2015, he was reportedly identified by several witnesses, the daily reported.

“It’s a real relief for my clients who were starting to doubt the will of France to (find) the truth in this affair,” Romain Boulet, counsel for victims in the attack, told French daily Le Parisien.

Deli owner Jo Goldenburg recalled in 2002 that “they fired on everyone who was eating lunch — everyone.” The deli, which has since been closed, was a tourist attraction in the famed Marais neighborhood.

The Abu Nidal faction, named after its leader, is considered responsible for nearly two dozen attacks that left at least 275 people dead, including assaults on El Al Israel Airlines ticket counters at the Rome and Vienna airports in 1985 in which 18 people were killed.

The notorious Abu Nidal himself was found dead in his Baghdad apartment in August 2002. Iraqi authorities said Abu Nidal, whose real name is Sabri al-Banna, committed suicide.

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