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U.S. Would Aid in Attack, Paper Says

World IN BRIEF : PERU

February 17, 1997|From Times Wire Reports

If the Lima hostage standoff cannot be resolved peacefully, U.S. and Peruvian paratroopers would plunge into the besieged ambassador's compound from helicopters and storm the mansion, a major Peruvian newspaper reported. The nighttime operation would take only seven minutes but could leave as many as 90 people dead as soldiers seized leftist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement rebels and tried to rescue 72 hostages from the Japanese ambassador's residence. But Diario La Republica reported that the army, fearing high casualties, wants to leave the raid as a last resort. The rebels accused President Alberto Fujimori's government of pursuing a military end to the 9-week-old hostage standoff. A spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command, reached by telephone in Panama, denied any U.S. plan to help free the hostages.

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