Palestinian Arrested in Disco Bombing
West Berlin police have arrested a Palestinian in the April 5 discotheque bombing that killed two people and prompted the U.S. air raids on Libya last week, authorities said today.
Manfred Ganschow, West Berlin security police chief, said a stateless Palestinian was picked up during the weekend and a warrant was issued citing him for involvement in the bombing of the nightclub, which was popular with American troops.
Ganschow said the suspect was presented in a police lineup to “more than 100 people” who had been in West Berlin’s La Belle discotheque before the bomb went off there in the early morning hours.
The bombing killed a U.S. soldier and a Turkish woman and wounded another 230 people, including 64 Americans.
Identification ‘Beyond Doubt’
Ganschow declined to identify the suspect or give any further details of the arrest. But the mass-circulation Bild newspaper reported that the police witnesses had identified the Palestinian “beyond doubt.”
The newspaper said police found in the suspect’s possession sketches of many taverns, nightclubs and public places “against which further terror attacks were obviously planned.”
“The trail is very hot. This is not a dud,” Bild quoted an unnamed high-ranking security expert as saying.
The arrest was the first clear break in the case. Until today, West Berlin police had been saying they had no firm clues to the identity of the suspect in the nightclub bombing that the United States, citing secret intelligence evidence, blamed on Libya.
‘Triumph for Cooperation’
In Bonn, Michael-Andreas Butz, a spokesman for the West German Interior Ministry, told a news conference, “The arrest and warrant is a triumph for cooperation of international security authorities.”