Skip to comments.Shooting at LA airport El Al counter ruled terrorist act
Posted on 04/12/2003 4:07:33 AM PDT by John W
LOS ANGELES - An Egyptian immigrant's deadly attack on an Israeli airline ticket counter last year has been ruled a terrorist attack related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an FBI spokesman said Friday.
"Given his political views and the fact that El Al is an Israeli government-owned airline, that met the criteria for a terrorist attack," said Matthew McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Los Angeles field office of the FBI.
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport's El Al ticket counter on July 4 last year, killing two people before being shot dead by an airline security guard.
The Department of Justice had withheld characterizing the shooting while federal agents launched a worldwide probe to determine whether it was a terrorist attack, hate crime or motivated by personal reasons.
The FBI findings were made several months ago and were recently approved by the Justice Department. McLaughlin said his office was told not to issue a press release but was given permission to confirm the decision if asked.
He said Hadayet acted alone and had no ties to any terrorist organization.
The investigation, however, found that Hadayet supported the Palestinian cause in the Israel-Palestine conflict and had become increasingly militant in recent years.
"The investigation developed information that he openly supported the killings of civilians in order to advance the Palestinian cause," McLaughlin said.
He said Hadayet bought the weapons used in the attack just weeks before the shooting, closed his bank accounts and sent his family overseas. He walked into the terminal with a .45-caliber semiautomatic Glock pistol, a 9 mm handgun and a six-inch knife.
The two people killed were Yaakov "Jacob" Aminov, 46, and Victoria Hen, 25, who worked behind the counter. Several other people were injured.
Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said he believed all along the shooting was a terrorist attack and was satisfied the Department of Justice ruled it one.
"It's an attack on Americans because there's no way he could determine that only Jews travel on El Al," Hier said. "He was out to commit a terrorist attack to make a point and threaten Americans. ... (It) caused tremendous panic around the country. People didn't travel and they didn't go to the airport."
The finding also contradicts the notion that Hadayet acted for personal reasons or because he was despondent over financial problems, said Hier, leader of the Jewish human rights organization.
Hadayet, who lived in Irvine, was $10,000 in debt at the time of the shooting and his once profitable Orange County limousine businesses had been struggling, authorities said.
He applied for asylum with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the early 1990s, but his application was rejected. He skipped a 1995 removal hearing and stayed in the United States with a work permit. He became a permanent U.S. resident after his wife won her residency in the U.S. visa lottery program.
In a 1993 interview for asylum, Hadayet told U.S. immigration officials that Egyptian authorities arrested him and accused him of involvement with Al-Gamma'a al-Islamiyaa, the Islamic Group. The group at the time was waging a violent effort to topple the secular Egyptian government and replace it with Islamic rule.
Hadayet said he was falsely accused of belonging to the group, which is now on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.
As I recall, there were several FR posters who were very loud about suspending judgement.
Hope they see this thread.
Just about anybody on FR could have told 'em that -- last year!
Here's a happy thought from Middle East expert Daniel Pipes:
Islamists constitute a small but significant minority of Muslims, perhaps 10 to 15 per cent of the population. Many of them are peaceable in apearance, but they all must be considered potential killers.
How does 400,000 to 800,000 -- in our country -- potential killers sound?
America's Fifth Column ... watch Steve Emerson/PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
Download 8Mb File Here (Requires RealPlayer)
Of course it was terrorism. Israel knew this the same day.
But it's not a hugh story, since we already knew the obvious!
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