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Italy's ex-president admits terror deal

Says country allowed Palestinian terrorists to roam free in exchange for not attacking Italian targets.

state-religion survey 224 (photo credit:)
state-religion survey 224
(photo credit: )
A former Italian president says his country had allowed Palestinian terror groups to roam free in exchange for not attacking Italian targets. Francesco Cossiga's admission confirmed claims of such a deal revealed last week in an interview in the Corriere della Sera newspaper with Bassam Abu Sharif, the former chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In a letter published Aug. 15 in Corriere della Sera, Cossiga described a "secret 'non-belligerence pact' between the Italian state and Palestinian resistance organizations, including terrorist groups" such as the PFLP. The deal, he said, had been devised by Prime Minister Aldo Moro, who in 1978 was kidnapped and assassinated by the Italian terror group the Red Brigades. Nonetheless, there were several major Palestinian terror attacks on Italian targets in the 1970s and 1980s. They included attacks on Rome's airport and main synagogue, and the hijacking of the cruise ship the Achille Lauro cruise ship. Last month, Cossiga accused the PFLP of being behind a terrorist attack at the Bologna train station in 1980 that killed 85 people. That attack has long been ascribed to Italian neo-fascist terrorists, and two leaders of a neo-fascist extremist group were given life sentences for their role in the attack.