France warns neighbors of terrorist bombers Algerian group believed to be behind Paris attack

December 08, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

PARIS -- French officials said yesterday that they had asked their European neighbors to be alert for the terrorists who set off a bomb in a Paris commuter train on Tuesday.

Police have not announced the names of any suspects in the blast, which killed three people and wounded 94, and have appealed to the public for information that would help identify the bombers.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion, caused by a bomb made from a 29-pound camping gas cylinder filled with explosive powder and nails.

But French police assume that the bombing is a renewal of last year's campaign by the Armed Islamic Group, an Algerian group that wants France to cut its economic ties with Algeria.

"This move is part of the routine investigations and verifications that we have initiated in the framework of this investigation," a French Interior Ministry spokesman said after a German newspaper reported that police there had been asked to watch out for Algerian fugitives.

The German Interior Ministry said the French request had listed 13 possible suspects, but French officials would not confirm this.

The explosion appeared to be part of a spillover of the violence in Algeria that has taken at least 50,000 lives since 1992, when the Algerian military canceled democratic elections that Muslim fundamentalist parties were winning.

After bombings in the summer of 1995, police hunted down members of the Armed Islamic Group's network in Lyon.

One presumed ringleader was killed in a shootout, but another escaped. French police believe he made his way to Belgium, Italy or Germany.

As in the summer of 1995, the streets of Paris are being patrolled by army and police squads armed with automatic rifles.

Visitors to the Louvre and other museums now have to pass through a metal detector and allow their bags to be searched before they are admitted.

Pub Date: 12/08/96

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