NAPLES, Italy -- Police today were looking for a suspected Japanese terrorist as the man responsible for a car-bomb attack on an American servicemen's club in Naples that killed five people and wounded 16.
Authorities were searching for Yunzo Okudaira, 39, described as a leader of the Red Army terrorist group, who was staying at a hotel near the Naples railroad station up until 1 p.m. Thursday, about 7 hours before the blast.
Okudaira was blamed for a similar car bomb explosion outside the U.S. Embassy in Rome last June 9 as a seven-nation summit conference opened in Venice with President Reagan attending. One Italian woman was wounded in that blast.
Police officials said they suspected Okudaira after more than 12 hours of investigation despite an anonymous telephone call to a news agency office in Rome, claiming responsibility for an apparently Arab group calling itself the 'Jihad (Arabic Holy War) Brigades.'
All of the dead were initially thought to be Italians but one was determined to be a U.S. Navy enlisted woman. Four of the wounded were U.S. Navy men and the other 12 were Italians and North Africans, police said.
A U.S. Navy spokeswoman in Washington identified the dead woman as Radioman 3rd Class Angela Santos, 21, of Ocala, Fla., who was stationed at the Naval Communications office in Naples.
The huge explosion shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday wrecked part of the United Services Organization building near the Naples waterfront. But most of the 60 to 70 Navy personnel attending a party in the club escaped injury because the main clubroom is located under stairs and was shielded from the blast.
Because the attack occurred on the second anniversary of the April 14-15, 1985, bombing of the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, police immediately suspected the terrorist who planted explosives in a Ford Fiesta could be a Libyan.
U.S. warplanes attacked the Libyan cities in retaliation for the bombing of a discotheque frequented by U.S. servicemen in West Berlin. One U.S. serviceman and a Turkish woman were killed in the disco bombing.
In Rome, Libyan Ambassador Abdulrahman Shargam told reporters, 'In the name of the Libyan people I state the following: Libya has nothing to do with the terrorist attack in Naples.'
Hours after the Naples blast, a bomb placed near an air conditioning unit exploded at a U.S. Air Force communications station, causing superficial damage but no injuries, a U.S. official said. The station is in the town of Los Santos de La Humosa, nine miles east of the U.S. Air Force base at Torrejon.
Former Navy Secretary John Lehman said on CBS 'This Morning' program the 1986 raid on Libya 'was successful in dramatically reducing state-sponsored terrorism targetted against innocent civilians and American servicemen around the world.'
He said the United States was 'less and less vulnerable ... but as long as we continue to carry the main burden (of fighting terrorism), we are going to continue to be the principal target of terrorists around the world.'
Police said the bomb was apparently set off by remote control and witnesses reported seeing an olive-skinned man about 40 years old in the area at the time.
'We of the Jihad Brigades Organization claim full responsibility for having blown up the American military center in Naples,' an anonymous caller told a news agency in Rome today. 'The American imperialists must die today, two years after their barbaric attack against the Arab-Libyan state.
'We have hit American imperialism and we will continue to strike until the defeat of American imperialism,' it said. 'Long live the struggle of the oppressed people against imperialism.'
Police said they considered the claim 'believable,' but later officials said Okudaira's record suggested he might have acted on the Libyan bombing anniversary as a gesture against U.S. 'imperialism.'
Okudaira was a leader of the Japanese Red Army which has been blamed for similar attacks on U.S. and other embassies in Europe and Asia. Members of the Red Army later formed the International Anti-Imperialist Brigades, which claimed responsibility for the Rome embassy attack.
Police said a Japanese man who stayed at the hotel Ambasciatori near the embassy until the morning of that attack looked like Okudaira.
A Japanese diplomat in the United States said the Japanese Red Army terrorist group is made up of Japanese nationals and based in the Middle East.
He said the Red Army, which only has about 15 or 20 members, rejects both communist and capitalist forms of government and espouses a worldwide revolution. It was responsible for the slaying of 26 people at Israel's Lod airport in 1972.
Authorities in Newark, N.J., said Thursday they were holding a Japanese citizen believed associated with the Red Army. Yu Kikumura was arrested this week on the New Jersey Turnpike with three pipe bombs in his car.
In Washington, a U.S. Navy spokesman said all sailors from the three U.S. warships in Naples on port call were accounted for after the blast and four servicemen had been wounded.