Ottawa prof arrested, suspect in 1980 Paris bombing
Published Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:11PM EST
The RCMP has arrested a Canadian man in Quebec at the request of France, which accuses the man of being behind a bomb attack that killed four people at a Paris synagogue in 1980.
The Department of Justice confirmed to CTV.ca that Hassan Diab, 55, was arrested at his home in Gatineau, Quebec Thursday.
"The arrest was made under a provisional arrest warrant for extradition as a request from France," Justice spokesperson Chris Girouard said.
Under a provisional arrest warrant, the official extradition request must be filed within 45 days. Diab will have a bail hearing within 24 hours of his arrest, according to Girouard.
France's Minister of the Interior, Michele Alliot-Marie, confirmed the arrest Thursday and credited cooperation between Canadian and French authorities.
Diab is a part-time sociology professor at the University of Ottawa, CTV News has learned. According to the university officials, he teaches one class at the undergraduate level.
Diab is also listed as a contract instructor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Carleton University for the fall of 2008. Carleton officials could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Two French anti-terrorism judges travelled to Canada earlier this week according to The Associated Press. Investigators are searching Diab's home and office for clues, including DNA samples.
A year ago the story broke that Diab was being investigated by French authorities. He told French media it was a case of mistaken identity.
Three French citizens and one Israeli woman were killed outside a synagogue in a posh area of Paris when a bomb went off minutes before a crowd of people were due to emerge from the synagogue. Twenty others were hurt.
The attack took place on a Friday evening, at the start of the Jewish Sabbath. More than 200,000 marched in France to protest the attack.
According to the French magazine L'Express, French authorities believe the bombing was arranged by a Palestinian militant group involved in a dispute with Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Canadian Jewish Congress said it was pleased an arrest had finally been made.
"This sends a message to terrorists around the world and to potential terrorists that no matter how long time passes authorities will continue to pursue them and bring them to justice," national director Benjamin Shinewald told CTV News.
Diab's name was attached to the group by German intelligence, The Associated Press is reporting. French police said they had a sketch of their suspect and believed he had moved to North America but had lost track of him.