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August 11, 2017 12:33 pm

French Jews Demand Extradition of Suspects in Deadly 1982 Paris Deli Terror Attack

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The site of the 1982 attack. Photo: David Monniaux via Wikimedia Commons.

Thirty-five years after a deadly terrorist attack at a Jewish deli in Paris, French Jews are calling for the three suspects still at large to be extradited to France.

The Chez Jo Goldenberg attack was the deadliest atrocity committed against French Jews since the Holocaust. On August 9, 1982, a group of terrorists burst into the restaurant, threw a grenade, and began randomly firing at the patrons. Six were killed, including two American citizens.

All the attackers escaped, but as a statement on the matter from the French-Jewish umbrella organization CRIF relates, the investigating judge at the time, Jean-Louis Bruguière, found that the attack was planned and carried out by followers of Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal.

The investigation was stalled completely until 2007, when a new probe was launched by Judge Marc Trévidic, eventually leading to the identification of two of the suspects. In 2015, this finally resulted in international arrest warrants being issued for three individuals — two for involvement in the attack and one for organizing it.

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The current locations of the suspects are known: Mohamed Souhair al-Abassi, the suspected mastermind, resides in Jordan; Mahmoud Khader Abed lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah; and Walid Abdulrahman is in Norway.

In June 2015, al-Abassi was arrested and held by Jordanian authorities in connection with the matter. At the time, Judge Trévidic stated, “In all likelihood, there will be a trial.” Thus far, however, Jordan has refused to extradite al-Abassi to France.

Norway has steadfastly refused to extradite Abdulrahman.

Francis Kalifat, president of the French-Jewish umbrella group CRIF, marked the 35th anniversary of the attack by criticizing France and the world’s indifference to the victims.

“How can such a crime go unpunished?” he asked. “Can terrorists continue to enjoy happy days while the victims are waiting for a trial where they can receive justice? One can only regret that France has accommodated itself to the situation and has never asked the Palestinian Authority to hand Mahmoud Khader Abed … over to the French court. Thirty-five years later, the victims and their families can no longer wait, they need to rebuild, we have to help them.”

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