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Bomb Destroys British Airways Office in Rome

September 25, 1985|(UPI)

ROME — A powerful bomb hidden in a sports bag ripped through the offices of British Airways today, injuring at least 14 people in the second terrorist attack in the busy Via Veneto area in 10 days. A Palestinian youth caught fleeing the scene confessed to the bombing.

The injured, including a woman whose right leg was crushed by the blast, were taken to nearby hospitals. Four people, all Italians, were reported in serious condition.

The blast shattered the tall plate glass windows of the airline office, raining glass shards on pedestrians and passing cars.

The office is only a short distance from the Via Veneto and a sidewalk cafe hit by a hand grenade Sept. 16. That attack, for which a Palestinian also was blamed, injured 38 people, 11 of them Americans.

U.S. Embassy Nearby

The heavily guarded U.S. Embassy is less than one block from both targets.

A Muslim terrorist organization, the Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims, claimed responsibility for the cafe bombing a week ago in an anonymous telephone call in Beirut. The group threatened more attacks.

Police identified the suspect in today's bombing as Hasan Aatab, 16, a Palestinian born in the Chatilla refugee camp in Beirut. He was seized by an officer assigned to a special police patrol established as a result of the cafe bombing.

Police said the youth admitted during his initial interrogation that he planted the bomb and that he was a member of the same group that claimed responsibility for the cafe attack.

Witnesses said the youth was smiling as he was driven away in a patrol car.

Authorities said the most seriously injured were three Italian employees of British Airways and another person believed to have been a customer. Another 10 people were reported injured, mostly by flying glass.

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