'Sharon was Kahane killer's target'

Exposé reveals counter-terrorism blunders and FBI memos.

Ariel Sharon. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ariel Sharon.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The man who killed Meir Kahane in 1990 claims he did not carry out the shooting alone, as previously thought, but was part of a three-man terrorist cell with links to al-Qaida. Its original target was future prime minister Ariel Sharon, according to a newly-leaked US government document.
During his investigation for an article into alleged counter- terrorism blunders published in Playboy magazine on Friday, freelance journalist Peter Lance uncovered official FBI memos which bring new information to light about the murder of the Israeli politician in New York.
According to the documents, Kahane’s killer, El-Sayyid Nosair, told detectives in 2005 that he had planned to assassinate Sharon, who was then Israel’s minister of housing and construction.
“Nosair further stated that Ariel Sharon was his original target and that he went to a hotel prior to Sharon’s coming to visit, but decided against it,” the document read.
He added that on the night he shot Kahane dead, he was accompanied by two co-conspirators to the Marriot Hotel in Manhattan where Kahane was speaking – one of whom was also carrying a gun.
The men, Bilal al-Kaisi of Jordan and Mohammed Salameh, a Palestinian illegal alien later involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, have never been charged for their part in the slaying.
“Nosair further stated that on the night of Kahane’s murder he was in the auto[mobile] with Alkaisi and Salameh three blocks from the hotel where Kahane was speaking that evening,” the FBI report read.
“Nosair possessed two guns and gave one of the guns to Alkaisi. He further stated that on the night of the murder, Kahane had just finished speaking to the crowd and Nosair said to Alkaisi that ‘this is the moment,’ (meaning they were going to kill him). Alkaisi told Nosair to ‘be patient, let’s take our time.’ Nosair further stated the opportunity to shoot Kahane presented itself, and he shot Kahane. At the time of the shooting Nosair did not know Alkaisi’s location.”
Salameh is currently behind bars in the US for carrying out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which left six dead and 1,042 wounded. Al- Kaisi’s whereabouts, however, are unknown.
“In my opinion, [the FBI is] embarrassed because they let this al-Qaida terrorist go in 1994,” Lance told The Jerusalem Post on Friday. “He did a few months and now he’s out in the wind, as they say.”
Kahane was the leader of Kach, a right-wing political party banned by Israel because it incited racism against Arabs.
Nosair was tried in court for the killing of Kahane alone. The Egyptian- born US citizen was initially acquitted of the murder, but convicted of assault and possession of a firearm in a highly controversial decision by the jury. The ruling was overturned in a retrial after new information came to light regarding his membership in al-Qaida. He later confessed to carrying out the killing, and is serving a life sentence.