New clues to bombing ofJewish sites in Sydney

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australian police have uncovered new clues in the 1982 bombings of the Israeli Consulate and the Hakoah Club in Sydney.

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At a news conference Monday police said they had travelled for the first time to Israel to interview former consulate staff and witnesses of the bombings, which took place just hours apart on Dec. 23, 1982.

“We are working with the authorities in Israel,” New South Wales Police Detective Chief Superintendent Wayne Gordon said. “We are working with the Jewish community and advising some of the leaders on a regular basis as to the operational information that is appropriate.”

The cold case was reopened in August with new technology enabling police to focus on two men possibly connected to the May 15 organization, a Baghdad-based offshoot of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Now investigators from “Operation Forbearance,” which also involves Australian Federal Police and Australia’s spy agency, are also pursuing a woman who picked up the car that was used to set off the bomb in the car park underneath the Hakoah Club.

All three suspects were thought to have been in their mid-20s at the time and are probably still alive, New South Wales Police Detective Chief Superintendent Wayne Gordon said.

On Dec. 23, 1982 a bomb exploded inside the stairwell of the Israeli Consulate, which was based inside Westfield Towers, the headquarters of Holocaust survivor Frank Lowy’s shopping mall empire. Just under five hours later, another blast ripped through the car park underneath the Hakoah Club in Bondi, which reportedly had in excess of 200 people inside the social club.

Two people were injured at the consulate, one seriously. No one was killed at either venue though police believe the Bondi bomb was intended to collapse the building. One man was charged but the case was later dropped due to lack of evidence.

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