French arrest eight in deadly Tunisian synagogue attack

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

GRENOBLE, France -- French intelligence agents have arrested eight suspects in connection with a Tunisian synagogue bombing earlier this year that killed 19 people in an attack that German authorities claimed was linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Fourteen of the victims were German tourists, and responsibility was claimed by a group linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization that also took credit for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

French authorities have said they believe the attack was carried out by a Tunisian, Nizar Naouar, and an unidentified accomplice who also lived in the North African country. Officials said Naouar is believed to have died in the explosion, but they have not said what happened to his alleged helper.

One of those detained was identified as Walid Naouar, the brother of Nizar Naouar who was believed to have been driving the gas truck that exploded outside the synagogue on Tunisia's island of Djerba.

Naouar's parents and three people close to the family were among the others detained, prosecutors said. Under France's tough new anti-terrorism law, authorities can hold the suspects up to four days without charging them.

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