2002-07-27 / Community

Weiner: Premature To Rule Out Terrorism

Representative Anthony Weiner has called on the FBI to investigate this month's shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport as a possible terrorist attack.  In a letter to FBI Director Mueller, Weiner cautioned the FBI to avoid mistakes made in the investigation of the 1994 attack on Yeshiva students on the Brooklyn Bridge. 

On July 4, Hesham Muhammad Ali Hadayet, an Egyptian national, opened fire at the El Al ticket counter in the Los Angeles International Airport, killing two.   Despite the fact that the shooter had expressed anti-Israel sentiments and that the victims were both Israeli, the FBI has thus far indicated that it does not consider the shooting to be a terrorist act.

In March of 1994, Rashid Baz opened fire on a van of Yeshiva students on the Brooklyn Bridge, killing Ari Halberstam, of Brooklyn.  Initially, the FBI characterized the shooting as a road rage incident, but after almost seven years of pressure by the victim's mother, Devorah Halberstam, the FBI reclassified the shooting as an act of terror, saying that the shooting was motivated by the assailants desire to retaliate against Jewish people.

In his letter, Rep. Weiner urges the FBI to proceed carefully, and not make the same mistake twice.  "The families of the victims of the July 4, 2002 attack should not have to endure the same agonizing crusade that Mrs. Halberstam undertook to have the Brooklyn Bridge attack properly classified," said Rep. Weiner in his letter.  "I believe that the investigators of the Los Angeles International Airport shooting acted prematurely in stating that this attack was not an act of terrorism.  I respectfully request that you consult with those directing the investigation of the July 4 attacks and urge them to consider the results of the reinvestigation of the Ari Halberstam case as they proceed with their investigation."

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