LONDON — Anti-terrorist detectives today arrested an Arab suspected of slipping a 10-pound bomb in his pregnant girlfriend's luggage just before she was to board an Israeli jumbo jet at Heathrow Airport, Scotland Yard said.
Detectives said the bomb would have gone off during the El Al flight, killing all 388 aboard, including his chambermaid girlfriend.
Police said the man, Nezar Hindawi, 35, was arrested shortly after 6 p.m. at a hotel in West London after police received a tip. He is believed to be a Palestinian from northern Jordan.
Hindawi had not been seen since he took Anne-Marie Murphy to Heathrow Airport on Thursday morning. The 32-year-old Murphy was arrested when an El Al guard found the explosives in the false bottom of her hand luggage. (Story on Page 10.)
In Dublin's Sallynoggin suburb, the parents and sister of the hotel chambermaid said today that she was pregnant by Hindawi and that he had promised to meet her in Israel and marry her on Saturday. He had even bought her a wedding dress, said her father, truck driver William Murphy.
Murphy had met Hindawi a year ago when he was a guest at the London Hilton, where she worked, they said. A former messenger for Al-Arab, an Arabic-language daily newspaper published in London, he told her he was "a political journalist," Murphy's mother, Cathleen, said.
The Hilton described Murphy as "a hard-working, quiet and reliable employee." Hindawi, on the other hand, was "arrogant and belligerent" and was sacked from Al-Arab after only two months, the paper said.
They became lovers but did not live together. She became pregnant by him at least six months ago, and he dropped out of her life, the mother said.
Then, earlier this week, Murphy telephoned a sister in Dublin to tell her Hindawi had reappeared, begging forgiveness. "She said she was getting married to this boy in Israel on Saturday. He was to phone on Saturday from Israel to talk to the family in Dublin," said her mother.
Scotland Yard said he saw the young woman off at Heathrow and then returned to his hotel. He told her he could not travel on the El Al flight because he is an Arab and would take another airline.