An Irish woman wrongly accused by the ABC network of planning a suicide attack on board an Israeli plane in 1986 now plans to sue the U.S. network for defamation.
On the network’s Primetime show that aired in August 2006, Anne Murphy, originally from Dublin, was described as the last known terrorist to try to bomb an Israeli plane, but Murphy was not a terrorist.
Back on April 17, 1986, Murphy, who was pregnant at the time, was unwittingly involved in a terrorist plot to bomb an Israeli passenger plane. That morning she had presented herself at London-Heathrow’s Gate 23 for the El Al flight to Tel Aviv to meet the parents of her fiance, a Palestinian Nezar Hindawi,
Murphy cleared Heathrow’s security check-in procedures, but to El Al’s security staff something didn’t look right. A search of her hand luggage revealed 42 grams of semtex and a detonator, hidden in a calculator.
In a sad twist, the explosives had been secretly planted there by her fiance, who must have known they would kill her, along with all the other passengers, mid-flight.
The British government broke off diplomatic relations with Syria following revelations of official complicity in Hindawi’s plot to blow up the El Al airliner, and he was sentenced to 45 years in jail.
Although a search of Murphy’s hand luggage revealed the bomb hidden in a calculator, it had been placed there unknown to her by her then boyfriend Nezar Hindawi, a terrorist with links to the Libyan government.
The ABC switchboard was flooded with calls from angry Irish Americans protesting Murphy’s innocence on the night the Primetime show was broadcast. The show is no longer viewable on the network’s website. ABC has not responded to calls on the matter from the Irish Voice.
Murphy’s solicitor, Iain Montgomery of the Montgomery & Sons Solicitors in Dublin, told the Irish Voice on Tuesday, “We are now going to take a claim for defamation on behalf of our client against ABC. That’s where things stand at the moment. Her character was defamed by this program broadcasting the allegations it did. Clearly even just by reading the letters in the Irish Voice (at the time), a hell of a lot of people saw the program.”
Murphy is believed to be resident in Ireland, where she recently employed the Montgomery & Sons firm to pursue her case.
“At this stage there’s not too much more to tell,” added Montgomery. “We are waiting to hear back from our counsel on it, but we are pursuing the case on behalf of our client.”