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Palestinian guerrillas claim synagogue bombing

By STEPHAN KETELE

ANTWERP, Belgium -- The Palestinian guerrilla group Black September which staged the bloody Munich Olympic attack on Israeli athletes claimed responsibility for the bomb that killed two people outside an Antwerp synagogue, police said Wednesday.

Police sources also said they were searching for an Arab believed to be the owner of the yellow van packed with explosives and detonated Tuesday morning in the mainly Jewish diamond district of the Belgian port city.

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Immediately after the bombing that also injured 99 people, an organzization calling itself the 'Group of Direct Action' called the Belgian news agency and claimed it was resposible for the blast.

Police said Wednesday an anonymous caller to the city's gendarmerie headquarters claimed the bombing for Black September -- the group which staged the attack at the 1972 Olympics in which 11 Israeli athletes, five guerrillas and a West German policeman were killed.

The caller said further bombs would explode in Brussels and Antwerp and ended his call with the battle cry 'Palestine will win', a police official said.

He also said police arrested an Algerian in the diamond quarter a week ago for acting suspiciously. The man had false identity papers and is still being held, but there was no indication he was connected with Tuesday's bombing, the police said.

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Two women died in the blast outside a small synagogue and two injured were still on the danger list. Another 48 people remained in the hospital including 10 in serious condition.

Police sources said the registration number on the van's chassis revealed it was bought from a Brussels second-hand car dealer. It carried a transit license plate of the kind issued to foreigners residing for a short while in Belgium.

The young dark-haired man who took out the license gave his name as Nicola Brazzi and an address which later proved to be that of Brussels hotel, the sources said. The investigation showed, however, Brazzi, believed to be Lebanese, had never registered at the hotel. The same name was found on the register of another hotel where he had entered his nationality as Cypriot.

Business in Antwerp's diamond quarter was at a virtual standstill as repairmen boarded up windows. Eight buildings in Hoveniersstraat were declared inaccessible pending further examination of extensive damage.

City authorities meanwhile gathered all glass fragments in a guarded storehouse to sort out diamonds which could have been buried among the debris.

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