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FBI, Justice: El Al attack was terrorism

Ruling backs previous report on 2002 airport shooting

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, shown in this undated handout photo, attacked an El Al ticket counter in what U.S. authorities have ruled  a terrorist attack related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an FBI spokesman said.
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, shown in this undated handout photo, attacked an El Al ticket counter in what U.S. authorities have ruled a terrorist attack related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an FBI spokesman said.

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The FBI and the Department of Justice have agreed with a previous federal conclusion that a shooting at an Israeli airline ticket counter last year fit "the definition of terrorism," an FBI spokesman said Friday.

In September, federal investigators determined that the shooting at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport on July 4, 2002, was a terrorist act carried out by a lone gunman bent on becoming a martyr.

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, a 41-year-old Egyptian national, opened fire at the airport, killing two Israelis and wounding four others before being shot dead by a security guard for the Israeli airline.

The earlier report concluded that Hadayet hoped to influence U.S. government policy in favor of the Palestinians.

During the extensive worldwide investigation, sources said, investigators found no evidence linking Hadayet to any terrorist group. They characterized the shooting as an act of terrorism because Hadayet espoused anti-Israeli views and was opposed to U.S. policy in the Middle East, the sources said.

Investigators had concluded that he was driven by a number of other factors that day: his limousine business in California was failing, his marriage was suffering, and after his wife and children left for Egypt, he was alone and depressed on his birthday -- the day of the attack.


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