NID -- WESTERN EUROPE: THE EL AL ATTACKS

Created: 12/28/1985

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Intelligence Daily

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Special Analysis

WESTERN EUROPE: Thn El A'Atlae.a

Tne armta ef fecks at the El Al counters In that Vienna anil Rome airport* closely resemble previous Abu Htdal etracftf. but Ihe possibilityLO group may have been responsible cannot be diicovnttd. Interrogation* cf surviving gunmen thouldyield aeoitlonal information that will help establish the gunmen's crup alllilitlon. mmm

Wii II

Kyle of ihe coordinated attacks matches previous Abu tedal Incidents. So far this year, the Syrian-sponsored Abu Nidat group has conducted six grenade attacks In Western Europe:

eptember. Cafearts, Rome.

3 September; Glyfada Hotel. Athens.

1 July: Offices of British Air and Alia. Madrid.

arch: Almost sunultaneccs attacks against Alia offices In Athens, Nicosia, and

Abu NldaJ Is known to retaliate against those governments that Imprison Its members. Both Italy and Austria are now holding three group members each. Senior offtaaJs ol the Abu Nldei group last week hold dlscussoris with Austrian officials about ths early release ol .is

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Its approximatelyttacks in Western Europe this year, however, the Abu Nrflal group has not attacked any Israeli targets.adrid radio station todayalm of responsibility for the attacks on behalf ol Abu Nldai, the caller did not use one of the group's several cover names or Include [uatHicsHon for theboth standard Abu Nidal procedures.

r the PLO

It is highly unlikely that PLO Chairman Arafat would condone an attack in Italy that would jeopardire relations already strained by the Achilla Lauroember group of the Palestine Liberation Organ nation might have conducted ihe attacks to embarrass Arafat

continued

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lo demonstrate iti operational capabisites in me atiermalhrat'a recent Cairo Declaration. Faian Fotcend me PLC Uncled Securlly Oroanlialion ol Salah Khalal. Aralat's deputy, have me

infrastructureesiein Europe to carry out attach! such as those cc-.Dueled

An anti-Arafat PLO group bached by Syria is another posstbsny. Several PLO leaders have long felt that Aralat'soTpornaiicerforts Iniddle East peace aredetrimental to tne Palestinian cause The attachs. therefore, would dernonstrale the group's continued dedication lo the armed struggle again* is-ae! as opposeO to Arafat's emphasis on diplomacy.

Poaaible Government Reaction!

Tel Aviv views the attachs as part of Its ongoing conflict with Damascus. Israel probably wHI use the attacksretext tor siriklno at PLO bases in ma Bakes Valtty in Lebanon, which are withn the envelope ol Syrian air defense missile* that Israel would have to destroy first An attack on Syrian missiles in Lebanon probably would spill ovcHntoSyrta and involve Syrianlong the Lebanese border.!

Iteaan Prime Ministerocialist, and Foreign Minister Andreottl, the reeking Christian Democrat in the governing ceshlfon. will condemn the attach, but they will insist that Borne must wait (or the results of the investigation before assigning blame. Botti Craxl and Andreottl are sympalhetic toward the PLO. and evManeeLO role would be damaging to them at home. ^Mm}

Craxi and Andreottl piobably already have sought private assurances from Arafat that theas not Involved. Crsxl in particular Is likely to try to avoid relgniling the criticism of the government's handling of the incident ot the Achilte Lauro hijacking by insisting that judicial process must be allowed to lake its course. Me Is also likely to Insist that Rome will not release the hijackers of Achilla Lauro or any other imprisoned terrorist to avoid attacks In the future. Fsaajlj

Austrian Chancellor SinowaU will condemn the attacks strongly, andtrian political Danies are likely lo stress their determination that tne airport attack should nolartsen Issue during the campaign toew president in May. Austrian public staiemonts are likely to include reminders ol Vienna's longstanding interestiddle East sMtlement that takes account of Palestinian interests.

res JiCt^rBbar IMS

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