Paris attack suspect to appear in court four decades later

Walid Abdulrahman Abu Zayed was extradited from Norway

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 25, 2020 Walid Abdulrahman Abu Zayed gestures during the court hearing in connection with a French extradition request at the Oslo District Court on September 25, 2020. Walid Abdulrahman arrived in France on December 4, 2020 after Norway agreed on November 27, 2020 to extradite to France this suspect linked to a 1982 attack in Paris that killed six people, bringing hope to families of the victims who have demanded a trial for almost 40 years.
 - Norway OUT
 / AFP / NTB / Terje Bendiksby
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A suspect in the 1982 Rue des Rosiers attack on a cafe in Paris, which left six people dead, is due to appear in court in France.

Walid Abdulrahman Abu Zayed was extradited to France from Norway on Friday.

The 62-year-old landed at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport from Oslo, where he had been living since 1991.

He is due to appear before an anti-terrorism judge on Saturday.

He was arrested in September in the town of Skien south-west of Oslo and Norway approved his extradition on November 27.

The attack on a Jewish restaurant in the Marais area of the French capital which killed six and injured 22 on August 9, 1982 has been attributed to the Abu Nidal Organisation, which splintered from the militant Palestinian Fatah group.

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 9, 1982, view of firemen and a rescuers in the rue des Rosiers after the French-Jewish delicatessen restaurant Jo Goldenberg was attacked on August 9, 1982 in Paris by gunmen that threw a grenade into the restaurant and shot at customers with sub-machine guns, killing six customers and injuring 22 others. More than 38 years later, with the extradition by Norway on December 4, 2020, of one of the four identified suspects, Walid Abdulrahman Abou Zayed, victims of the attack  in Paris's Marais district in August 1982 are finally hoping for answers and a trial in what remains one of the oldest terrorism cases in France. / AFP / Jacques DEMARTHON
Rescuers in the Rue des Rosiers after the French-Jewish delicatessen restaurant Jo Goldenberg was attacked on August 9, 1982, in Paris by gunmen that threw a grenade into the restaurant and shot at customers. AFP / Jacques DEMARTHON

Mr Abu Zayed has denied being involved in the attack which saw up to five men open fire and throw grenades into the restaurant.

"My husband never killed anyone. He has never been in France," his wife told AFP in 2015 in response to an international arrest warrant issued by France.

Mr Abu Zayed claims he was in Monte Carlo at the time of the attack.

Opposing his extradition, he told Norwegian authorities: "I don't like France. I don't want to go to prison in France."

Mr Abu Zayed, a Palestinian born in 1958 in the West Bank who became a Norwegian national in 1997, is wanted for murder and attempted murder.

French authorities have issued arrest warrants over the attack, against two suspects in Jordan and another believed to be in the West Bank.

In 2019, Jordan refused to extradite one of the suspects because the case was too old, dashing the hopes of victims' families that the perpetrators would finally be brought to justice.

The case has also been the subject of speculation of deals between France and the Abu Nidal Organisation.

Lawyers for the bereaved say documents give credence to the idea that French intelligence guaranteed the group it would not face prosecution so long as it did not carry out any more attacks in France.

Former head of the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST) Yves Bonnet admitted during a hearing there was an "unwritten contract" between the two sides, according to Le Parisien newspaper.