The FBI held five men Saturday on charges stemming...

LOS ANGELES -- The FBI held five men Saturday on charges stemming from a series of bombings blamed on a Lebanese-based Armenian terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for the slaying of two Turkish diplomats.

The FBI said four of the Armenians were taken into custody in Santa Monica, Anaheim and Montebello, Calif., and one was picked up in Boston.


A spokesman said all were suspected members of the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide, which claimed responsibility for assassinating the Turkish Consul General Kemal Arikan in Los Angeles in January and the killing of Honorary Turkish Consul Orhan R. Gunduz, 60, in Somerville, Mass., last May.

Members of the terrorist group, based in Beirut, claim to be waging war against Turkish diplomats because Turkey's government has refused to accept responsibility for the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915.

Arrested in Southern California Friday night were Karnig Karlos Sarkissian, 29, of Anaheim; Viken Archavir Sarkissian Hosepian, 22, of Santa Monica, and Dikran Sarkis Berberian, 29, and Viken Vasken Yacoubian, 19, both of Glendale.

Steven John Dadaian, 20, of Canoga Park, Calif., was arrested after flying to Boston with a cache of explosives, the FBI said, and was arraigned before a federal magistrate Friday night.


All five men were charged with unlawful possession of a firearm or destructive device and interstate transportation of explosives, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, or both.

The California suspects were scheduled for arraignment Monday.

The FBI declined to answer questions about the case, saying only that the arrests arose out of an 'investigation into a series of bombings since 1980 at foreign diplomatic establishments' and claimed by the Justice Commandos.

Local Armenian activists held a news conference to brand the arrests a 'setup'by the Reagan administration to further the cause of 'the facist government in Turkey.'

'Any Armenian who makes himself visible in the Los Angeles area in terms of political action or support of Armenians is going to be harrassed and intimidated by the FBI, the police and the sheriff's department,' said Leon Kirakosian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee.

Hampig Sassounian, 19, a suspected member of the terrorist group, is awaiting trial for the assassination of Arikan, who was gunned down by two men at a Los Angeles intersection. His brother, Harout, was recently convicted of firebombing Arikan's home in 1980.

Two years ago, the Justice Commandos claimed responsibility for bombings in Los Angeles and New York of Turkish institutions and businesses.


Three Armenians were charged in May with placing a bomb next to a building occupied by Air Canada at Los Angeles International Airport.

Turkish diplomats have been attacked in several countries, including Canada and Bulgaria. In August, an attack by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia at the airport in Ankara, Turkey, killed nine people.

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