Founder of Japanese terror group behind deadly 1972 Israel airport bombing freed

Fusako Shigenobu, who co-founded the Japanese Red Army terror group, was released from prison on Saturday after serving a 20-year sentence and apologized for hurting innocent people.

She was released just two days before the 50th anniversary of the terror group’s deadly attack at Lod airport that killed 26 people and injured dozens more.

“I have a deep feeling that I finally got out alive,” she said, greeted by her daughter and a crowd of reporters and supporters in Tokyo, some waving Palestinian flags.

“I hurt innocent people I didn’t know by bringing our struggles to the fore. Although it was a different time, I would like to take this opportunity to deeply apologize,” said Shigenobu, who was draped in a keffiyeh – the Arab headdress which has become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Shigenobu was found guilty of orchestrating the 1974 siege of the French Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands. She was arrested in 2000 in Osaka, central Japan, where she was hiding.

The Japanese Red Army, formed in 1971 and linked to Palestinian terrorist groups, was behind a 1972 machine gun and grenade attack on Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv.

Three members of the Japanese Red Army recruited by a Palestinian terrorist group opened fire and threw grenades at Lod airport, killing eight Israelis and 16 foreign tourists.

Fusako Shigenobu, second right, who co-founded the Japanese Red Army terror group, with her daughter Mei, right, speaks to reporters after her release from prison in Akishima, a suburb of Tokyo, May 28, 2022 (Kyodo News via AP)

The Japanese Red Army also took responsibility for several other attacks, including the takeover of the American consulate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1975.

Shigenobu was not physically present in the attacks. A year after her arrest, she declared the group disbanded. Japanese media reported that Shigenobu underwent surgery for cancer while incarcerated.

Kozo Okamoto, who was injured and arrested in the Israeli airport attack, was released in 1985 in a prisoner swap between Israeli and Palestinian forces. He would be in Lebanon.

In this file photo from Monday, July 17, 1972, Japanese terrorist Kozo Okamoto, center, surrounded by guards, listens in a courtroom in Lod, Israel, as a guilty verdict is handed down for him in the massacre of 28 people on May 30 in the Lod airport. (AP Photo, File)

Okamoto and several other members of the group are still wanted by Japanese authorities for their alleged role in bombings of the 1970s and 1980s, including the airport terror attack in Israel.

You are a dedicated reader

That’s why we started The Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other media, we don’t have a paywall in place. But since the journalism we do is expensive, we invite readers to whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel community.

For just $6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while benefiting from The Times of Israel WITHOUT ADVERTISINGas well as access Exclusive content only available to members of the Times of Israel community.

Thanks,
David Horovitz, founding editor of The Times of Israel

Join our community Join our community Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: