Accused Hijacker May Be Tried in U.S.
U.S. officials are debating whether to try accused terrorist leader Abul Abbas in America or send him to Italy for punishment, and they rejected the claim of the Palestine Liberation Organization that he should be set free under an 8-year-old international agreement. Abbas, who allegedly masterminded the deadly 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, was captured by U.S. forces late Monday in Baghdad, where he had been given sanctuary by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Abbas was given a life prison term by the Italians for the hijacking that led to the death of cruise ship passenger Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish American. He has also been sought by U.S. authorities, who have been eager to send a strong message to terrorists that they will be punished for killing Americans. U.S. officials said Wednesday that their first priority is to determine whether Abbas, 54, can provide them with information on Iraqi leaders or the presence of other terrorist groups in Iraq. Establishing Hussein’s support for terrorism, which was part of the justification for invading Iraq, is a key goal of the Bush administration. Full Story