Italy Frees Achille Lauro Terrorist

Rick Moran
Remember the name "Leon Klinghoffer?" He was a wheelchair bound American Jew on a cruise ship called the Achille Lauro when it was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists back in 1985. Klinghoffer never made it home. He was tossed over the side after being shot in the head.

The terrorists eventually negotiated an escape to Egypt via Greece after terrorizing passengers and robbing them of their jewelry and other valuables. After they believed themselves safely away, the 4 hijackers celebrated aboard the plane, laughing no doubt at the world's paralysis in the face of their murderous deed.

But that celebration was short lived. A youngish Marine Colonel attached to the National Security Council named Oliver North figured out how the United States might turn the tables on the terrorists and capture them. F-15's were scrambled after President Reagan gave the go ahead and they forced the plane down at a NATO base in Sicily where Special Forces were waiting to take them into custody.

Unfortunately, at that point, the Italian government entered the picture. They hustled the terrorists off at gunpoint, keeping our boys at bay. And to top it off, they allowed the plane along with the rest of the passengers to continue its journey to Egypt - including the probable mastermind. And then put the
terrorists on trial.

Now the Italians have shown just how seriously they take the War on Terror by releasing another one of Klinghoffer's murderers.

Italian authorities have ordered a Palestinian man expelled after he served his sentence for taking part in the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, which resulted in the murder of an American citizen.

The 43-year-old Ibrahim Fatayer Abdelatif was freed Monday from a temporary holding center for illegal immigrants in Rome, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Francesco Romeo said authorities have ordered Abdelatif to leave Italy within 15 days. Romeo said a request for political asylum had been turned down, but he plans to appeal the expulsion order because his client "has nowhere to go."

Abdelatif was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon but is not a citizen of that country and Beirut will not let him back in, he said.

Abdelatif was given a 25-year sentence for being a member of the four-man team that took over the Italian cruise ship off the Egyptian coast. During the hijacking an elderly, wheelchair-bound American from New York, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and pushed overboard.


Of the other hijackers, one died after being placed on parole. One disappeared after being paroled. Both served all of 6 years for their crimes 

Another tried to escape following a 12 day "furlough" but was later recaptured and is still in prison.

And the mastermind? Abu Abbas was one of the most notorious of PLO terrorists during the 1980's but once he found refuge in Saddam's Iraq - you know, that place that had no ties to terrorism? - he changed his tune and called for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Captured by Americans in 2003, he died in custody in 2004.

This was not an ordinary murder where the perp gets to walk after serving a few years. Hijacking was supposed to be one of those crimes where the criminal is suppose to serve their entire sentence. The Italians however, don't see it that way and have let loose upon the world another potential headache.

Until we learn that these brutes should be kept locked up for the rest of their lives, we are going to make little progress in the War against terrorism.
Remember the name "Leon Klinghoffer?" He was a wheelchair bound American Jew on a cruise ship called the Achille Lauro when it was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists back in 1985. Klinghoffer never made it home. He was tossed over the side after being shot in the head.

The terrorists eventually negotiated an escape to Egypt via Greece after terrorizing passengers and robbing them of their jewelry and other valuables. After they believed themselves safely away, the 4 hijackers celebrated aboard the plane, laughing no doubt at the world's paralysis in the face of their murderous deed.

But that celebration was short lived. A youngish Marine Colonel attached to the National Security Council named Oliver North figured out how the United States might turn the tables on the terrorists and capture them. F-15's were scrambled after President Reagan gave the go ahead and they forced the plane down at a NATO base in Sicily where Special Forces were waiting to take them into custody.

Unfortunately, at that point, the Italian government entered the picture. They hustled the terrorists off at gunpoint, keeping our boys at bay. And to top it off, they allowed the plane along with the rest of the passengers to continue its journey to Egypt - including the probable mastermind. And then put the
terrorists on trial.

Now the Italians have shown just how seriously they take the War on Terror by releasing another one of Klinghoffer's murderers.

Italian authorities have ordered a Palestinian man expelled after he served his sentence for taking part in the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, which resulted in the murder of an American citizen.

The 43-year-old Ibrahim Fatayer Abdelatif was freed Monday from a temporary holding center for illegal immigrants in Rome, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Francesco Romeo said authorities have ordered Abdelatif to leave Italy within 15 days. Romeo said a request for political asylum had been turned down, but he plans to appeal the expulsion order because his client "has nowhere to go."

Abdelatif was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon but is not a citizen of that country and Beirut will not let him back in, he said.

Abdelatif was given a 25-year sentence for being a member of the four-man team that took over the Italian cruise ship off the Egyptian coast. During the hijacking an elderly, wheelchair-bound American from New York, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and pushed overboard.


Of the other hijackers, one died after being placed on parole. One disappeared after being paroled. Both served all of 6 years for their crimes 

Another tried to escape following a 12 day "furlough" but was later recaptured and is still in prison.

And the mastermind? Abu Abbas was one of the most notorious of PLO terrorists during the 1980's but once he found refuge in Saddam's Iraq - you know, that place that had no ties to terrorism? - he changed his tune and called for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Captured by Americans in 2003, he died in custody in 2004.

This was not an ordinary murder where the perp gets to walk after serving a few years. Hijacking was supposed to be one of those crimes where the criminal is suppose to serve their entire sentence. The Italians however, don't see it that way and have let loose upon the world another potential headache.

Until we learn that these brutes should be kept locked up for the rest of their lives, we are going to make little progress in the War against terrorism.