ANKARA, Turkey — An indictment released Thursday by Turkey's state security court said the Abu Nidal terrorist group was responsible for the recent attack on an Istanbul synagogue in which 21 worshipers died and for the 1985 murder of a Jordanian diplomat.
It was the first official statement linking Abu Nidal with the Sept. 6 attack on the Neve Shalom synagogue.
The two terrorists who carried out the attack were killed when hand grenades they were carrying exploded. Witnesses said they shouted in Arabic before firing on the Jewish congregation with machine guns.
The synagogue attack was linked to Abu Nidal's group in an indictment of five Palestinians in connection with the murder of Ziad J. Sati, 40, a first secretary of the Jordanian Embassy, who was shot to death as he drove to work on July 24, 1985. .
Only three of the five suspects are in custody, and the indictment said they confessed to being members of the Abu Nidal organization.
It listed the synagogue attack among other "Abu Nidal actions in Turkey," but it did not elaborate on the allegation.
Police in Istanbul have reported no progress in their search for accomplices, and officers had said they had no evidence linking the attackers to any country or terrorist organization.
The indictment, prepared by chief prosecutor Nusret Demial of the state security court in Ankara, said the Abu Nidal group also was believed responsible for the murder of a Palestinian student leader in Ankara in 1982 and an attempt to place a bomb aboard an Alitalia plane at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in December, 1983.
Abu Nidal broke with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1974 in opposition to its chairman, Yasser Arafat, and formed the Fatah Revolutionary Command. The group is believed responsible for attacks in the Rome and Vienna airports Dec. 27, 1985, in which 20 people were killed.
East Bloc Weapons
The indictment, largely based on statements attributed to the Palestinian defendants, said Abu Nidal worked in cooperation with countries supporting terrorism. The organization initially worked for Iraqi interests and later Syrian and Libyan interests, the indictment said. It said that East Bloc countries provided the group with weapons.
The three Palestinians in custody in connection with the Jordanian's assassination are Bassem Ahmed, Naif Nadi and Sami Washah.