November 13, 2008 / 7:40 PM / 9 years ago

Suspect in French synagogue bombing held in Canada

PARIS (Reuters) - A suspect in a bombing that killed four people outside a Paris synagogue in 1980 was arrested in Canada Thursday, the French Interior Ministry said.

Earlier, the website of the French magazine L'Express reported that Hassan Diab, a man of Palestinian origin in his 50s, had been arrested in the town of Gatineau in Quebec.

"French judges involved in the case are there now," said a source familiar with the case in the Paris prosecutor's office.

Two French judges issued an international arrest warrant against Diab earlier this month. He is suspected of making and planting the bomb that killed three French people and an Israeli woman outside the synagogue in an upmarket area of Paris.

Twenty other people were wounded in the bombing. No group claimed responsibility.

In Ottawa, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed they had arrested a person at France's request but would not give more details. A police spokesman said the suspect would stay in custody until an extradition hearing is held.

L'Express said Diab had dual Lebanese and Canadian citizenship and was a sociology lecturer at a university in Ottawa.

The magazine said a team of French police, magistrates and intelligence officers were in Canada working on the case and would try to arrange Diab's extradition to France.

The bomb was planted in a bag attached to a motorbike that was parked outside the synagogue in a street called Rue Copernic, in the posh 16th district of Paris.

It exploded minutes before a crowd of people was due to emerge from the synagogue. The attack took place on a Friday night, at the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

It caused outrage in France. Several hundred thousand people marched through the streets of Paris the following day to show their solidarity with the victims.

According to L'Express, French investigators suspect the bombing was organized by a small Palestinian militant group at odds with Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization.

Reporting by Gerard Bon, Thierry Leveque, Estelle Shirbon and David Ljunggren; editing by Andrew Roche

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