One of the three pro-Palestinian gunmen who killed three Israelis aboard a yacht in Larnaca, Cyprus, last week is a Briton, the Cypriot government confirmed Saturday.
Cyprus has rejected an Israeli request for the extradition of the three gunmen, a government spokesman said.
“The police have established that the man who identified himself as a Palestinian named George Hannah is a British citizen, Ian Michael Davison, from South Shields in northern England,” spokesman Elias Georgiades said in a press briefing.
Davison, a tall, fair-haired man, surrendered to police with two Arabs 10 hours after the trio seized the small Israeli yacht at dawn Wednesday. During the takeover and ensuing siege, the three Israelis on board, two men and a woman, were killed.
Davison, reportedly 27 years old, is believed to have joined the guerrilla forces of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon more than two years ago. He declared that on surrendering that he was a Palestinian, but he did not speak Arabic well.
Israeli officials maintain that the three murders were carried out by a PLO commando unit known as Force 17. However, the PLO office in Nicosia denied this in a statement.
Reporters covering the region recalled talking to Davison when Arafat’s forces were evacuated from Beirut in the wake of the Israeli siege of the Lebanese capital in September, 1982.
At the Davison family home in South Shields on England’s northeast coast, Sam Davison, 52, an unemployed laborer, described his son as “a happy-go-lucky lad” who never discussed politics.