Desmond Boomer

Desmond Boomer

A 38 year old Belfast born engineer working in the Libyan oil fields

Michael Williams

Michael Williams

A 49 year old English born engineer

Matthew Aquilina

Matthew Aquilina

A 22 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Tadeus Gorny

Tadues Gorny

A 48 year Polish national working in the Libyan oil fields

Phillip Farrugia

Philip Farrugia

A 43 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Carmel Bartolo

CArmelo Bartolo

The pilot, a 47 year Maltese national

  • Tehran Times Article on Shaqaqi

    Special Ceremonies to Mark Martyrdom of Shaqaqi Today

    WORD COUNT: 410

    TEHRAN Special ceremonies will be held here at Felestine Square Wednesday afternoon to commemorate the martyrdom of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement's Secretary General Fathi Shaqaqi.  The Leader's representative at the Haj pilgrimage, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, is expected to address the ceremony.

    Peoples from different walks of life and various organs have thus far announced their readiness to attend the ceremony to proclaim their consolidation with the Palestinian nation and express hatred toward the Zionist regime and its crimes. The ceremony is arranged by the Coordinating Council for Islamic Propagation.

    Other reports indicate that a similar ceremony was held here on behalf of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution at the mosque of the University of Tehran on Monday. Addressing the ceremony, Hojjatoleslam Seyed Abdullah Fatemi—Nia branded the Zionist regime as the major sponsor of state terrorism.

    He further touched on the recent terrorist moves, namely, the abortive terror of Iran's charge d'affaires in  Argentina, the hijacking of the Iranian passenger plane and the assassination of Shaqaqi, blaming the Zionist regime for the crimes. Shaqaqi attained martyrdom when sprayed by bullets on the island of Malta on Thursday.

    Slain Islamic Jihad chief Fathi Shaqaqi will be buried alongside other fallen Palestinian activists at a refugee camp here today, a spokesman for the militant group said yesterday. Shaqaqi, 43, was killed in Malta on Thursday in an assassination which Islamic Jihad blamed on Israeli Mossad agents.

    The widow of slain Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shaqaqi received his body yesterday and accused Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, and Yasser Arafat‘s security agents of working together to assassinate him. Fathia Shaqaqi alleged that elements of the Palestine Liberation Organization's elite force l7, Arafat's special security branch, had facilitated the slaying in Malta last Thursday.

    "They guided and helped Mossad elements in the assassination of my husband," she told reporters at Damascus airport soon after the body of her late husband arrived on a special Tunisian aircraft.

    The 44 year old Islamic activist was shot dead outside a hotel in Valetta, the Maltese capital, by a gunman on motorcycle.

    PLO officials have denied involvement in the Shaqaqi slaying and accused Mossad. The Israelis, as usual, have said nothing. His widow ululated as the coffin, wrapped in a Palestinian flag, was taken off the plane and showered with roses. "This is your promised day, my comrade. This is the day of your trip to paradise," she said, weepinq.

  • Article Published in KullHadd


    ll Kullhadd

    26 November. 1995

    Danger in the Air

    People close to air travel are very worried about the danger that is being brought now that a lot of people have to fly to Tunisia on small planes because the ship between Malta and Libya is not operating.

    Persons who are taking these planes are not being given tickets to show when they leave on the plane. They are being told to go to the airport and they have to be there at a certain time to take the flight.

    This is being done so that people who want to go to Libya for work in connection with oil are being taken as if to pretend that someone is doing them a favour and are not taking the commercial flight where they have to pay money.

    The planes that take these passengers that pay need pilots with commerical licences to fly them and also neex to have serious insurances. The small planes that are carrying people to Tunisia to go to Libya have no licences to carry passengers more than 30 miles off Malta.

    Amongst the ones flying these planes there are pilots that have only a licences to fly a private plane and that is not enough to be able to fly a commerical plane for passengers.

    The Dept of Aviation is allowing these flights to take place knowing the dangers that could arise. lf a plane of this type had to crash being driven by a
    pilot holding a private licence only and if these companies have no schemes of large insurancesrenought to be able to cover in case of a crash there are going to be big problems.

    The families of the passengers that are hit with such incidents can sue these companies for big amounts. The Maltese passengers can sue the companies that operate these flights for thousands. But the families of Americans and Germans that are using this service can sue for millions. They can sue the companies, the Dept of Civil Aviation and the Govt. of Malta that are allowing these flights to take place in this manner.

  • Letter from Cormac Boomer to Sean O'Higgins, Dept of Foreign Affairs

    36, Riverdale Park North
    Belfast BT11 9DL
    Telephone 616627
    18th December, 1995

    Mr. Sean O'Higgins,
    Head of Department,
    Department of Foreign Affairs,

    Dear Mr. O'Higgins,

    Further to our telephone discussion at the home of Dr. Joe Hendron, M.P., on Sunday, 17th inst., I set out herewith the sequence of events as they unfolded from the moment we were first notified by a member of R.U.C. that our son Desmond was missing, this occurred on the afternoon of Sunday, 3rd inst., quote: We have been advised by your son's employers, Mapel Electrical Services, Darlington, I (Mr. Bob Laurence, Phone 01325 282848 or 460604 that the plane on which our son was travelling from Djerba to Malta was missing - overdue for four hours and there was cause for concern, this information had been conveyed to my daughter-in-law at her home in Banbridge, Co. Down.

    Upon receipt of this news I queried it's accuracy as my son was not due home on leave until Wednesday, l3th December. I contacted your Consulate office where the duty officer confirmed that it was reported that a light aircraft was reported missing on such a flight and that one of the passengers was an Irish citizen, this information was displayed on R.T.E. Airtel on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of last week.

    I visited my daughter-in-law on Sunday evening and she confirmed that Desmond had contacted her from Djerba airport on Saturday evening around seven o'clock, saying the flight was put off until Sunday morning due to bad weather conditions. This was a brief conversation and the first indication she had that he was on his way home, earlier than expected.

    Friday 8th.
    Miss Ryan reports p.m. the search by military and naval personnel and equipment was scaled down and called off, nothing found, civilian search to continue over the week-end, organised and co-ordinated»by Mr. Carmel Bartolo.

    Monday 11th.
    P.M. report from Miss Ryan. The civilian search continued over the week—end using a large number of private aircraft, some with trained observers on board, nothing found, search called off. Will keep you informed of any developments.

    To-day and in the days that followed I made numerous phone calls to Mr. Bartolo, junior, phone endlessly engaged.

    Thursday 11th.
    No change, nothing to report, unable to make contact with Maltese Government Department, No response from Mapel Electrical Services.

    Friday 15th.

    I was contacted by a Mr. Geoff Williams, phone 0151 476 1790, Mr. Williams is the brother of the missing British man on the plane, Michael Williams. It would appear Michael Williams is a naturalised Maltese citizen, having lived in Malta for nearly twenty years, where he has his business and financial interests. Mr. Williams is divorced with a son who is a serving Royal Navy Officer (Andrew) (here Mr. Geoff Williams requested that his nephew's name and occupation be not referred to for reasons which I hope will become apparent.) Upon receipt of information of his father's disappearance, Andrew who is currently on leave travelled to Malta where, using his rank and family involvement he has been making persistent inquiries in government departments regarding the loss of the plane, nature and extent of the search and general background leading up to the incident. .It would appear that on Tuesday l2th Andrew Williams was taken to a government building and into the office of a Dr. Philip Scibberas whom I have been given to understand was the co-ordinator of the military/navel search operation, when seated in the office Dr. Scibberas instructed his staff to leave the room and closed the door, he then made the following statement:

    "We feel you have a right to know your fathers plane did not come down in the water, it is on land and we know where it is"

    Question: how do you know where it is?
    Answer: Our surveillance systems monitored it's distress beacon for seven hours after its reported disappearance,

    Question: lf it is on land is it in Tunisia?
    Answer: No.

    Question: Then is it in Libya?
    Answer: It is on the ground in Tripoli, now let me make it clear if you repeat this conversation to anyone outside this room I will deny that I ever made such a statement, excuse me, end of meeting.

    Dr. Scibberas has apparently disappeared from the government building and is reported to be in Tunisia investigating the circumstances surrounding the loss of the plane at sea.

    Official Maltese Government position
    In subsequent conversations with his uncle, Mr. Williams requested that his name be not referred to as the source of our Malta contact which I know you will respect. Other factors which have been fed to me over the weekend via Mr. Williams are:

    (a) That the incident of the supposed loss of the plane is related to a political assassination of a Libyan diplomat in Malta some time ago, my son informed me when he was home six weeks ago that there was a general feeling of apprehension and unrest amongst migrant workers in the oil fields, that movement out of Libya would be severely restricted etc. Perhaps this explains my son's decision to leave early. It would appear to have been common currency It Maltese government and stock market circles during the first days of the disappearance that in fact the plane was hijacked to Libya to secure Maltese hostages to force the Maltese government to return documentation and brief case missing from the time of the assassination of the Libyan Diplomat.

    (b) Other comments which have been given to me indicate that Libyan government funds have been, prior to the loss of the plane, steadily withdrawn at a rate referred to as flood proportions.

    (c) That the pilot was under investigation by the Maltese Authorities for reasons which I cannot consign to paper.

    (d) The plane, a Piper 32, did not have the range to make the journey Djerba to Malta.

    (e) That the Maltese government air traffic control when advised by Tunisian air traffic control that the plane was about to take off, requested by fax to hold it's departure, the plane took off five m1nutes after the fax arrived.

    (f) The twenty minute delay, according to Mr. Bartolo, junior, when I spoke to him, the plane would have been only twenty two minutes into it's flight and still some twelve miles inside Tunisian air space and natural water when she was reported to have disappeared from Tunisian Radar monitor, supposedly in a stormy not confirmed by weather reports.

    (g) Why did Tunisian Air Traffic Control wait for twenty minutes to ask Malta if they had observed the disappearance of a plane in Tunisian jurisdiction;

    (h) What is the significance of two reports of sightings of six survivors in life raft sighted in Tunisian water (subsequently denied officially) and a vessel which reportedly gave it’s name and that of it's captain when it advised it had picked up six survivors. Investigations carried out indicate that although the comments were heard on search radio channels no such vessel or captain exists on any register of shipping.

    Items A/H give credence to the comment that the situation is both dangerous and messy, nevertheless I was advised as late as the evening of Sunday 17th inst, they are the subjects of public discussion in Malta at government and street level; Speaking on behalf of all the families of those missing our main concern is to establish that they are safe and well and in no imminent danger.

    Mr. Williams suggests that his brother's American Express Card details should be checked out to see if it has surfaced and is being used, I understand Mr. Williams always used this method of payment when travelling outside of Malta, It is suggested his last payment would have been at the Djerba Hotel on the morning of Sunday 3rd December, 1995.

  • Israel refuses to allow Shqaqi burial in Gaza.

    Israel refuses to allow shqaqi burial in GazaAssassination of Faithi Shqaqi.

    Israel refuses to allow Shqaqi burial in Gaza.

    The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine complained yesterday that Israel had refused to let it bring back the body of it's assassinated leader, Fathi Shqaqi for burial in his native town of Rafah in self ruled Gaza.

    Palestinian security sources in Gaza informed the movement that Israel is refusing completely to transfer the bodyof Doctor Shqaqi to be buried in Rafah said Ala Al Saftawi, editor of the Islamic Jihad's allasuklal newspaper in Gaza.

    Islamic Jihad had accused Israel's Mossad of assassinating Shqaqi in Malta last Thursday and vowed revenge. Israel did not confirm or deny the charge but welcomed his death. Shqaqi's body was flown to Syria yesterday for burial there. Saftawi said Islamic Jihad believed the US Central Intelligence Agency gave Israel the green light to kill Shqaqi.

    "The estimations in the Islamic Jihad movement say that the American intelligence looked through the Israel plan to kill Fathi Shqaqi, approved it and gave the green light for Israel to work it out" he told Reuters. This was done in the Meeting between the head of the CIA and Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, on Thursday the 19th of October, in Tel Aviv",Saftawi said.

    PLO and Islamic Jihad sources in Amman said yesterday they expected Shqaqis successor to tilt the movement towards more militancy and violence.
    Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, 38, a Gaza born, western educated political science and economics professor, was unanimously elected secretary general of Islamic Jihad two days after the assassination of Shqaqi.

    In his first public appearance after his appointment,Shallah was present at Damascus airport when Shqaqi's body was flown to Syria from Malta.
    Shallah, along with Shqaqi founded the Islamic Jihad Movement in the early 1980s in Gaza. In the end of 198O he moved to Britain to continue his academic career before moving to the United states where he obtained a docorate in political science and economics and taught. He was remembered as a fiery preacher in Gaza's mosques before He left for Britain. He left the United States last year and now resides in either Lebanon or Syria.

    Islamic Jihad officials said that since Shqaqi's death there was a feeling the movement was rapidly tilting towards violence after months of refraining from attacks in an uneasy truce with the Palestanian Authority. "The truce period with the Palestinian Authority is over. After months of quiet, the only thing on the movement's mind is revenge" said an Islamic Jihad official. "I believe we are moving towards armed struggle and militaries."

    PLO officials said they warned Jihad to suspend attacks against Israels to allow the expansion of Palestinian authority to the occupied West Bank
    under a self-rule deal. Shqaqi's killing had torn up this unwritten agreement, they added.

    Likud says killing justifiedIsraeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, commenting on the killing of the Islamic Jihad, Fathi Shqaqi, said on  Monday it was "positive" when a terrorist was eliminated. I think it's a positive when a terrorist killer and murderer is removed from our scene. Netanyahu, leader of the right wing Likud party, told reporters after giving a speech in Washington.

    He said he did not know who was behind the killing in Sliema, "I don't necessarily advocate the removal of terrorists and murderers as a policy, but in these cases where removal of the leader would dismantle the terrorist and murder capacity of the organisation which they lead then it shouldn't be thrown out of hand, then it should be considered" he said. "I'm sure there will be repercussions, but I don't think that should deter those who stand in the face of such terrorism from taking actions against the organisation and their leaders.

  • Protest outside Malta's Embassy in Tripoli

    Protest outside Malta's Embassy in Tripoli

    The Times, Malta

    Wednesday 01 November 1995

    Ramadan Abdatlah Shallah, the man chosen as leader of the anti-Israel group, Islamic Jihad, helped run a controversal US think tank on Islamic affairs, an expert on radical groups. Steven Emerson, the producer of the PBS documentary "Jahad in America" said Shallah was administration director of the World and Islamic studies Enterprise (WISE) that was once associated with the University of South Florida in Tampa. Emerson, who is completing a book on radical Islamic networks, said that WISE was a front for the views of radical Islamic groups and sponsored conferences in which radical fundamental Moslem leaders from Tunisia and the Sudan were featured.

    A spokesman for WISE could not be reached for comment. Noreen Segrest, general counsel for University of South Florida, said that WISE had an agreement with the university starting in March 1992 that was suspended in September 1995 after a newspaper series reported that WISE was posssibly funnelling money to terrorist entities.

    Although the reports were not substantiated by law enforcement they led the university to reassess it's relations with off-campus organisations.
    As a result of that, we don't have a current relationship with WISE, nor do we anticipate entering into another one, Segrest said.

    WISE had previously denied that it was anything more than a think tank on Islamic affairs. Emerson said the group had made presentations at seminars sponsored by the US military. Sources in Islamic Jihad said in Gaza that Shallah 49, was chosen to succeed Fathi Shqaqi as secretary general of the radical group. Shqaqi was assassinated last Thursday in Malta and Islamic Jihad blamed Israel's Mossad secret service for the killing. (Reuter).

    Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin said yesterday he hoped for a reconciliation between the PLO and it's main Moslem militant rival, which he hoped would end "terrorism."

    Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, secretary general of PLO head Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority running Gaza and Jerico, said this month that Hamas had agreed to talks with the PLO at Egypt's invitation, but had not yet set a date. "I very much hope that the Palestinian Authority will reach an agreement with Hamas because for me it is not important how terrorism will be stopped" Rabin told reporters.

    "If it can be stopped as the result of an agreement,the result the result of stopping terrorism is what is important to me", he said. Hamas, which remains implacably opposed to Israel, has killed scores of Israerlis in suicide bomb attacks. But recently it and the PLO have been making noises about reconcilation and the PLO has stepped up contacts with Hamas.

    Hamas is the leading Moslem militent group qmong Palestinians followed by Islamic Jihad, whose Leader Fathi Shqaqi was was killed in Malta last week in an assassination that Islamic Jihad blamed on Israel. Hamas leaders at home and abroad have appeared at odds over how to deal with with the Palestinian Authority as Israel hands over Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank to the PLO.(Reuters).

  • Shqaqi's assaasins may have left Malta on private plane

    Shqaqi's assaasins may have left Malta on private plane

    by : Sharon Spiteri

    The Times, Malta : November 9th 1995

    Shqaqis assassins left malta on private planeThe police have received information from Interpol detailing how the assassins of`an Islamic Jihad leader killed in Malta last month left the island, Police sources told The Times the information was sent on Monday night but would not reveal the contents of the message For security reasons.

    But other sources said the police were working on the theory that the men left; the `island on board a private plane hired from a local company and flown by 1 Maltese pilot.

    Fathi Shqaqi. 43. was shot in the head tive times at close range just after 1:00pm last October 26th. The police know of two killers, who rode up to their victim on a blue Yamaha found in Manwel Dimech Street, Sliema five minutes away from the scene of the crime in Tower Road.

    What is still very unclear and what police have so far refused to say is whether they have established how the killers got from Manwel Dimech Street to the airport.The smartly dressed Islamic Jihad leader was at first identified as a Libyan passport holder bearing the name Ibrahim Ali A. Shawesh.

    Meanwhile, sources at the Palace Tower said they were still not expecting a ferry from Libya after the daily crossing was suspended on October 31,

  • Shqaqi's Body Flown To Damascus

    Shqaqis body flown to damascusShqaqi's Body Flown To Damascus

    Issam Hamza

    November 01 1995

    The body of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shqaqi, was flown to Damascus yesterday and was met by the new head of the radical Palestinian group.

    Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, making his first appearance after his appointment to replace Shqaqi, was at Damascus airport with other militant Palestinian leaders to pay respects, Shqaqi’s coffin, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, was taken from the chartered Tunisian aircraft to a Damascus hospital where it will stay until the funeral today.

    The bearded Shallah has made no statement since Sunday, when he was declared new leader of Islamic Jihad, which is bent on destroying Israel and torpedoing Israel-PLO peace moves. Islamic Jihad has carried out a series of suicide bombings in which scores of Israelis have been killed. Shqaqi was gunned down in Malta while he was on his way to Damascus from Libya, where he sought to persuade Libyan leader Muammar Gaddaii to withdraw his decision to expel thousands of Palestinians.

    Israel. restricted the movements of nearly two million Palestinians in the self-ruled Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank on Monday, fearing attacks by Islamic Jihad to avenge the killing of its leader. The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine accused lsrael’s Mossad secret service of gunning down Shqaqi, 43.

    Israel declined to say whether it carried out the shooting but called Shqaqi a murderer. At Damascus airport yesterday were Ahmed Jibril, chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), Colonel Abu Musa, leader ofthe Fatah Uprising who was with Shqaqi in Libya, and Talal Nagi, deputy PFLP-GC chief who was also in Libya.

    Shqaqi‘s wife, Fathiya, and other relatives were at the airport. Fathiya Shqaqi, dressed in a long mauve robe, and other Palestinian women, shouted "Death to Israel", "Death to America", and "Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)" as the cofiin was taken to the hospital.

  • Article By Sharon Spiteri on Assassination of Fathi Shqaqi

    Assassination of ShqaqiAssassination of Fathi Shqaqi

    Security measures not enough to protect him

    By : Sharon Spiteri

    November 01 1995

    Libya has been accused of trying to distance itself from last Thursdays murder of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shqaqi and blamed for not providing enough security to protect him.

    Reuters quote a senior Palestinian official saying,"We do not wish to hold the Libyans responsible for brother Shqaqis assassination but the security measures they made were not enough to protect him.”

    “It looks as though the Libyans are now looking for a way to distance themselves from the incident especially that they gave a Libyan passport to Shqaqi."

    "I think it was a big mistake to let Shqaqi go to Malta taking into consideration Israel’s big presence on the island" another official said. The Libyan ambassador has been asked by The Times for a reaction to the statement but no reply has been given yet.

    Shqaqi, 43, was gunned down in front of a Silema hotel last Thursday just two hours after arriving in Malta from a meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The founder leader of the Islamic Jihad went with the leader of the Fatah Uprising group, Colonel Abu Musa and the deputy leader ofthe Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), Talal Nagi to plead with Col. Gaddafi to rescind his decision to expel Palestinians.

    Islamic Jihad activists chant and call for revenge against Israel in the Gaza Strip during a protest rally to condemn the killing of Fathi ShqaqiThe other two leaders returned to Damascus via a different route. The Islamic Jihad is the second largest Moslem militant movement among Palestinians after Hamas. the Islamic Resistance Movement. Both launched several bloody suicide attacks in which scores of Israelis were killed alter the signing of a PLO peace deal with Israel in 1993. Islamic Jihad accuses Israel of killing Shqaqi and has vowed to revenge itself with more suicide bombers, Israel officials have refused to confirm or deny Israel carried out the killing but welcomed his death.

    Yossi Melman said in an Israeli newspaper that the Mossad had leaked the news after realising that the world had kept quiet for two days, Israeli security analysts have confirmed that the method used to kill Shqaqi bore all the hallmarks of a Mossad contract killing. The bullets used to kill Shqaqi were 9mm short and the security analysts have confirmed that one of the hallmarks of a Mossad killing is the use of the same calibre bullets in a short loaded Berretta.

    Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner has declined to answer questions sent to him by The Times. The police public relations officer said that the commissioner could not answer the questions in the interest of the investigation. He was asked,

    • Have the police asked any foreign countries for help in solving the murder
    • Who do the police believe is behind the murder
    • Have the police asked Israel For Shqaqis fingerprints
    • Have the police asked Israel for anyone else’s fingerprints
    • Do the police believe the perpetrators of last Thursday’s murder are still on the island
    • Were any weapons found on the victim’s body, in his luggage or in the room at the hotel he was staying at
    • Who identified the body
    • Were any relatives of the victim on the island
    • Have the police spoken to any off the victims relatives
    • Are the police inquiring as to how the victim carried a Libyan passport
    • Are the police inquiring how he entered Malta without anyone being aware of his presence
    • Have any members of the police been sent to make enquiries abroad
    • Does the police suspect that the Israeli Mossad secret service have agents operating from here

    Information released by police so far reports eyewitnesses as having seen a man run up to the victim as he arrived from a shopping trip and shoot him at least east three times in quick succession.

    The murderer escaped on a motorbike driven by an accomplice. The two had been waiting for Shqaqi at first identified as Ibrahim Ali Shawesh, for at least two hours before the murder. Two salesgirls at the Bernardi store on the Slierna strand told police they remembered serving Shqaqi minutes before he died on Thursday. The two girls were the last people to see the Palestinian leader alive, after he went into the store alone to buy clothes just before closing time at 1pm.

    Shqaqi had also been to the Marks and Spencer store a block away where he bought a shirt. The girl who served him there did not recognise the man when she was showed his passport photo by police. Sources at the Palace Tower said the ferry trip from Malta to Libya was cancelled yesterday but they could not say why. They said another trip was scheduled for this morning,

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