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TERRORISTS & SPIES > TERRORISTS

Carlos the Jackal: Trail of Terror, Parts 1 and 2

Campaign

A month after the attack on Sieff, Carlos made an aborted bomb attack on the Israeli Hapoalim Bank in London. The attack was a straightforward one. Carlos arrived at the bank during morning trading and opened the front doors and threw the device inside. The device, made from a Russian hand grenade attached to 600 grams of plastic explosive failed to detonate fully and only succeeded in blowing a small crater in the floor and breaking a window. The only casualty was a nineteen-year-old secretary who received minor cuts.

Office of Minute newspaper after the bombing.
Office of Minute newspaper
after the bombing.

The next chapter in the campaign that Carlos and Moukharbal had devised was the bombing of the offices of three French newspapers that were deemed to be pro-Israeli. Cars full of explosives were left outside the offices of L'Aurore, L'Arche, Minute and Maison de la Radio. The bombs were set to explode at two a.m. and Carlos later claimed that the hour was selected to limit human casualties. In addition he advised the papers of the attack. At the appointed time, three of the four bombs exploded causing massive damage. There were no casualties. The only paper to escape damage was the Maison de la Radio when the vehicle bomb left in front of it failed to detonate.

Michel Moukharbal
Michel Moukharbal

While Carlos was making his presence felt in Paris, Haddad was hatching another plot. He advised Carlos and Moukharbal to align themselves with members of the Japanese Red Army. Prior to the planned alliance, Yutaka Furuya, a member of the JRA, had been arrested at Orly airport in Paris. He was detained because he carried three fake passports in various names and $10,000 in counterfeit bills. When questioned he admitted to being a member of the JRA and a supporter of the Palestinian cause. The DST searched their files and found that Furuya had been involved in an attack on a Shell oil refinery in Singapore organized by the Popular Front. Other encrypted documents in Furuya's possession revealed plans to attack Japanese embassies and companies in seven major European cities.

Furuya was later charged with minor offences relating to the passports and currency and jailed for several months. While he was serving his term of imprisonment, eight other Japanese Red Army members were expelled to Switzerland. The Swiss, wanting no part of terrorists, expelled them to West Germany who in turn sent them to Holland. Within days of their expulsion to Holland, the Japanese Red Army attacked the French embassy in The Hague. The three members who took part in the attack had been equipped and supported by Carlos and Moukharbal prior to the attack.

The plan was for the terrorists to capture the French ambassador when he arrived at the embassy. The attack was late but the JRA commandos succeeded in capturing the ambassador's driver and forced him to take them to the ambassador's office. At that point, a random police patrol encountered the terrorists and a gunfight ensued. During the skirmish the leader of the terrorists and two policemen were wounded but the terrorists managed to capture the ambassador, Jacques Senard, and ten other people and hold them hostage in Senard's office.

They demanded that Furuya be released from jail and that a Boeing 707 be placed at their disposal. While the demands were considered, Furuya was removed from his cell and taken under armed guard by members of France's Brigade Anti-Commando, to Schipol airport in Amsterdam to await the outcome of the negotiations. The Brigade were under strict orders to execute Furuya if any of the hostages were harmed, an order that came directly from the French Prime Minister, Jacques Chirac.

While the negotiations continued, Carlos devised a plan that he hoped would force the release of the terrorists. On a busy Sunday afternoon he entered the trendy Deux-Magots café and made his way to the first floor balcony and threw a fragmentation grenade down into the crowd that milled around the boutiques on the ground floor.

Carlos left just before the blast scattered hundreds of lethal fragments through the crowd killing two and injuring thirty-four innocent shoppers.

Two days later, the French government agreed to the terrorist's demands. They not only released Furuya and supplied the jet but also paid a $300,000 ransom. They have since insisted that the grenade attack at Deux-Magots had no bearing on their decision. Regardless of the lack of importance placed on the attack, it succeeded in attracting Haddad's attention with the result that he "upgraded" Carlos and ordered him and Moukharbal to seize an El Al jet at Orly airport in December 1974. Finally, Carlos had been selected to take part in "high-profile" operations. Unfortunately for Carlos the planned attack coincided with a strike by El Al staff, which prevented any Israeli aircraft from landing in Paris. Carlos, anxious to prove himself, was told to sit and wait for the strike to end. Finally on January 13 1975, Carlos and Johannes Weinrich, a new accomplice, were sent into action.

Johannes Weinrich (POLICE)
Johannes Weinrich
(POLICE)

Shortly after midday, the terrorists were sitting in a rented car at the side of an airport access road waiting for an El Al flight to take off. The plan was to wait until the aircraft was in the air and shoot it down with an RPG-7, a Russian made bazooka.

At the appointed time, Weinrich stood at the side of the road and shouldered the weapon and took aim at the approaching El Al 707. He was clearly visible to a Lufthansa employee who stood at his desk less than twenty meters away and an El Al security guard on a nearby rooftop. When the plane was 130 meters away, Weinrich fired but the rocket missed its target and slammed into a parked car. The warhead did not explode.

The recoil of the second shot, fired in haste, pushed Weinrich and the bazooka backwards smashing their cars windscreen. The rocket streaked away toward the airport and passed through a Yugoslav DC9, which was parked off the side of the tarmac, before hitting a building that was used as a kitchen. Fortunately the building was empty at the time of the attack. Following the failed attack, Carlos and Weinrich sped away to a nearby cemetery where they dumped the vehicle and switched to another, leaving the bazooka behind. A later phone call to the Reuters news agency in Paris claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of the Mohamed Boudia Commando. The person making the call promised that, "Next time we will hit our target."

While the security around Orly was being strengthened with additional gendarmes and riot police, Carlos and Moukharbal were laying plans for their next attempt. Four days after the first attack, obviously undaunted by the increased security, Carlos and three other Palestinian guerrillas were at the airport "rehearsing" for the next strike. The following Sunday the terrorists returned to the airport and after retrieving another, less powerful bazooka from it's hiding place in a public toilet, they ran out to an observation terrace and prepared to open fire on an El Al jumbo jet that was nearby. Before they could get into position, a security officer on an adjoining rooftop opened fire with a submachine gun. As the crowd ran for cover, one terrorist fired his pistol into the air and threw a grenade. The terrorist with the RPG took the weapon from under his coat and aimed it at the jumbo which by this time was 400 meters away preparing for take off, too far for an effective shot.

To make their escape, the terrorists ran into the passenger lounge firing their pistols and throwing grenades. Carlos was not among them as he had slipped away when the shooting had started. Shortly after they entered the lounge they were intercepted by a security patrol. After a short gunfight, eight people, including one of the security officers, lay seriously wounded while the terrorists selected hostages and barricaded themselves in a toilet. In all, they succeeded in taking ten hostages including a priest, a four-year-old girl and a pregnant woman. Ten hours later, after terse negotiations, the French government yielded and supplied a Boeing 707 to fly the Palestinians unharmed to Baghdad in return for the hostages. Annoyed by yet another failed attack, Carlos and Moukharbal flew to London and on to Paris to lie low and make plans for the next phase of their campaign.

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