The FBI has reportedly reopened its investigation into the 1973 murder of the Israeli air force attaché to Washington, after new information supplied by infamous international terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez – also known as Carlos the Jackal.
According to Adam Goldman, a reporter for the New York Times investigating the murder of Yosef (Joe) Alon, the FBI decided to reexamine the case after a letter from Carlos the Jackal piqued the interest of agents in Paris. Carlos, they thought, might have the missing piece in the murder case that has remained unsolved for over 40 years, but which has been blamed on Palestinian terrorists.
In the New York Times, Goldman describes how his investigation into the murder of Alon – the only instance of an Israeli official being assassinated on U.S. soil – led him to contact Ramírez, now serving life sentence in a French prison. Ramírez responded in a letter and agreed to speak to him, but for a fee. Goldman declined to pay Ramírez and dropped his investigation.
However, the letter Ramírez sent Goldman was enough to reignite interest in a case which has long been considered cold. Last month, the reporter claims, FBI agents admitted that the agency had reopened the case after Eugene Casey, a Paris-based agent, interviewed Ramírez for 15 hours over a year and a half, starting in February 2014.
According to the report, Ramírez told the FBI that during the 1970s, a number of American Vietnam War veterans arrived in Paris and began to frequent a bookstore run by a Palestinian. There, they reportedly met Kamal Kheir Beik, a Syrian who was a member of the Black September pro-Palestinian terror group. Asked how they could help the Palestinian cause, Beik suggested they kill Col. Joe Alon.
“When Alon was killed, we all wondered who had done it,” Ramírez is quoted as telling the FBI. “We were obviously all very happy,” he said, but “contact with the volunteers who executed the operation in Washington was lost long ago.”
Accordingly, he told the reporter in their first correspondence, he could “disclose the unusual manner in which ‘Operation Alon’ came to be."
The details provided by the international terrorist were not fully corroborated, but the bookstore, for example, was found to be real. However, two of the three Americans named in the investigation were unable to confirm the details of the incident and a third was dead.
Alon's daughters were stunned when contacted by Haaretz Monday over the reopening of their father's case. "My heart is really pounding," said one of the daughters, Rachel Alon-Margalit. She added that the family welcomes the new effort to solve the case. "It's never too late from my standpoint."
"No one informed us of this until the phone call from you," said Margalit's sister, Yael Alon-Rosenschein, "but from the beginning, we have not had access to the findings of the investigation of the case either in the United States or Israel, so I don't expect to get [additional] information."
"Our mother, Dvora, believed over the years until she died that the person who pulled the trigger was acting on behalf of the Americans, because of information that our dad was exposed to in his job in Washington and that he was not supposed to have access to," Alon-Rosenschein said. "The fact that no terrorist organization claimed responsibility for this murder only buttresses the theory that it was not Arab terrorist organizations that were behind the murder."