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Masterminds of 1982 Sydney bomb blasts found

The 15 May group was behind the bombings of the Israeli consulate and Hakoah Club, a coroner says.

The 15 May group was behind the bombings of the Israeli consulate and Hakoah Club, a coroner says. Photo: AAP

Coronial findings have revealed that the Palestinian 15 May insurgent group was behind the bombings of Sydney’s Israeli consulate and the Hakoah Club, which shook the Jewish community 40 years ago.

The findings released on the 40th anniversary of the explosions by NSW State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan concluded that both were an act of international terrorism perpetrated by the 15 May terrorist group with the assistance of one or more local supporters.

A bomb exploded in front of the Israeli consulate in central Sydney about 2pm on December 23,1982, injuring a number of people.

Later that day a car parked in the basement the Hakoah Club in Bondi exploded and, although no one was injured, it’s believed the blast was intended to collapse the building.

Ms O’Sullivan said on Friday the two bombs were assembled outside Australia by 15 May leader and founder Hussayn Al-Umari (also known as Abu Ibrahim).

She asserted he was the mastermind behind the attacks.

A man was charged in 1983 but the matter was no-billed before the trial began.

Evidence presented during the inquiry described Al-Umari and 15 May as the most “active, most dangerous and most ruthless of all terrorist organisations in the world” at the time.

International experts indicated the Sydney bombs matched at least 20 other explosive devices either detonated or located around the world, including the 1982 bombing of a Pan Am flight from Tokyo to Honolulu.

In 2011 investigators from the NSW joint counter-terrorism team established Strike Force Forbearance to reinvestigate the bombings.

A $100,000 reward was announced in 2012. It was increased tenfold to $1 million earlier this month.

The US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation has had a $US5 million ($7.4 million) bounty for Al Umari since 2009.

NSW Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander Mark Walton welcomed the coroner’s findings.

“From a NSW Police Force perspective, after 40 years, we have not only identified the international terrorists who directed these acts of terrorism, but also how they made the devices and carried out the attacks and we thank the local and international experts who have assisted us,” he said on Friday.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the strength and resilience of the community, particularly today on the 40th anniversary of that day of senseless violence”.

The identification of the perpetrators was also welcomed by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. CEO Darren Bark said it brought some comfort to the community.

“Our community remains hopeful that the perpetrators of this heinous attack will be caught,” he said.

Topics: NSW
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