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Accused Paris bomber arrested in Canada

world Updated: Nov 14, 2008 10:36 IST

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A Canadian-Lebanese national has been arrested in a suburb of Canada's capital for his alleged role in a 1980 bombing outside of a Paris synagogue that killed four, Canadian officials said.

"I can confirm that we've arrested Hassan Diab," justice department spokesman Christian Girouard told AFP on Thursday.

Earlier, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said a suspect in the bombing was detained in Gatineau, Quebec, at the request of French authorities who had been searching for Diab for years.

"The individual was wanted in France in connection with the bombing at a Paris synagogue," Corporal Jean Hainey told AFP. "The RCMP was providing assistance as required under the mutual assistance treaty."

A judicial source in Paris had earlier announced the arrest in Canada of a suspect in the case. The French-language weekly news magazine L'Express also announced it on its website.

In October 1980, a bomb planted in a motorcycle saddlebag outside the Copernic Street synagogue in the tony 16th arrondissement killed three Frenchmen and a young Israeli woman.

It was the first fatal attack against the French Jewish community since the Nazi occupation of World War II.

French authorities issued a warrant in November 2007 for Diab's arrest, following a lead from German intelligence. But Diab claimed at the time he was a victim of mistaken identity and denied any links to extremist organisations.

On Thursday, his attorney Rene Duval told AFP his client was "innocent.