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THE NATION

LAX Assailant Died of Abdominal Gunshot Wound

July 07, 2002|ANDREW BLANKSTEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Egyptian man who killed two people after opening fire on the Fourth of July at the El Al Israel Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, the county coroner's office said Saturday.

An autopsy Saturday on Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, showed that he died from the abdominal wound, said Medical Examiner James K. Ribe.

Coroner's officials would not elaborate on the specific findings of the examination, including whether Hadayet was shot multiple times, details of the entry and exit wounds on the body or the range at which he was shot.

Shooting victim Yaakov Aminov, 46, died of a wound to the abdomen, and Victoria Hen, 25, who worked behind the El Al ticket counter, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the coroner's office.

Meantime, the FBI continued its investigation into Hadayet's background and what may have motivated him to open fire in a crowded terminal building before a deadly shootout with undercover security guards.

Authorities have not linked Hadayet to any organized terrorist groups or found that he quarreled with anyone before the shooting. Armed with .45-caliber and 9-millimeter handguns and a 6-inch knife, he attacked a crowd at the El Al counter inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal before being wrestled to the ground by two El Al security guards, one of whom shot him. At least one bystander joined the melee.

Los Angeles police continued increased patrols at LAX through Saturday night.

An unattended rifle bag forced an evacuation of a section of the Tom Bradley Terminal at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The bag was found on the departure level near the Thai Airways ticket counter, said airport spokesman Tom Winfrey.

Scores of people were led out of the building, but international flights continued to come and go, he said. The evacuation was called off about an hour later, when a bomb squad determined that there were no weapons or explosives in the luggage. The bag contained a broken bottle of liquor, Winfrey said.

As is normal practice, no El Al flights were scheduled Friday or Saturday from LAX in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

In addition to examining items seized from Hadayet's Irvine home, officials have been pursuing interviews with family members, friends and associates who might provide clues about his intentions.

Hadayet, a devout Muslim, lived in a condominium with his wife, Hala, and their two sons, ages 8 and 11, who are visiting relatives in Cairo. He had entered the United States in 1992 on a tourist visa, and his wife had won a green card for him through an Immigration and Naturalization Service lottery. Records indicate that he owned a struggling limousine company.

Separate memorial services are expected to be held today in the San Fernando Valley for Aminov and Hen. The service for Hen is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Groman-Eden Mortuary in Mission Hills. The public is invited.

Arrangements were still being finalized late Saturday for a private memorial service for Aminov, a father of eight, at Yad Avraham Synagogue in North Hollywood.

*

Times staff writer Anna Gorman contributed to this report.

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