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Israeli Accused of Plotting to Free 3 British Prisoners

July 31, 1986|From Reuters

PHILADELPHIA — An Israeli working here as a restaurant manager was in jail today, charged with plotting a helicopter swoop into a British jail yard to free three Israeli hashish smugglers.

Abraham Ahronovich, 31, was seized after two charter pilots he sought to hire for $35,000 to fly to Norwich, England, told the FBI about the offer, the Philadelphia district attorney's office reported.

A spokeswoman said Ahronovich, who told one of the pilots he was a former Israeli intelligence agent who took part in the 1976 Entebbe raid, was charged Wednesday night with conspiracy, solicitation and escape.

$2-Million Bail Sought

The district attorney's office has asked for bail of $2 million and Ahronovich's lawyer is trying to get that reduced, the spokeswoman said.

In London, Home Office officials said authorities at the prison in eastern England had been alerted to the plot. The guard was increased on the three Israelis, who are charged with planning to import two tons of hashish into Britain.

One of the pilots, John O'Sullivan, said he played along with Ahronovich and was given a one-way plane ticket to England and instructions to meet with contacts who would commandeer a helicopter and give him details of the escape.

O'Sullivan said the breakout was planned for some time between Aug. 2 and Aug. 6.

"These guys had been watching too much Rambo," said O'Sullivan.

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