An investigation into the 1973 cold-case murder of Israeli air force attache to Washington Yosef Alon has been reopened by the FBI, due to information supplied by international terrorist Carlos the Jackal. In a New York Times article Monday, reporter Adam Goldman said the FBI decided to reopen the case in light of a letter Carlos (real name Ilich Ramirez Sanchez) provided to Goldman in a written correspondence.
“Contact with the volunteers who executed the operation in Washington was lost long ago,” Ramirez, who is currently serving a life sentence for two 1975 murders, wrote in the letter. Given the length of time that had transpired, Ramirez told Goldman he could now “disclose the unusual manner in which ‘Operation Alon’ came to be.”
According to Goldman, Alon was a decorated pilot who fought in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence and was a father to three daughters as well. Alon, who was 43 at the time of his murder, was killed a month prior to ending his tour of Washington. The investigation into Alon’s death was closed by the FBI in 1978, due to insufficient evidence and no witnesses.
Ramirez’s letter, however, sparked the FBI’s interest after a copy was delivered by Goldman to Detective Ed Golian of the Cold Case Squad. Golian contacted the FBI in turn, as Goldman wrote in his NYT piece.
In February 2014, Ramirez divulged information to Paris-based FBI agent Eugene Casey, who interviewed him for fifteen hours over the course of a year and a half. Ramirez told Casey that during the 1970s, Vietnam veterans in Paris frequented a Palestinian-run bookstore, and came into contact with a Syrian and Black September terror group member named Khamal Kheir Beik. According to Goldman, it was Beik who suggested that the Palestinian cause could be helped by assassinating Col. Alon.
According to Goldman, Casey came to believe Ramirez account was true, supported by the fact that Beik, who was eventually killed in Beirut, had helped Ramirez plan a terror attack in 1975. Ramirez’s description of the bookstore and its Palestinian owner, who was killed in 1977, also held up.
A report Monday by Haaretz said Alon’s family members were deeply shaken by the revelations.
“My heart is really pounding,” Rachel Alon-Margalit, one of Alon’s daughters, told Haaretz. “It’s never too late from my standpoint.”
Another of Alon’s daughters, Yael Alon-Rosenschein, told the news outlet that no one had informed her of the new findings until Haaretz contacted her.
“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,” she said.