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Bombing of the La Belle Discotheque: Anatomy of a Terrorist Incident (From International Terrorism: Policy Implications, P 163-175, 1991, Susan Flood, ed. -- See NCJ-132889)

NCJ Number
H F Sharpe Jr
Date Published
13 pages
In April 1986, a bomb exploded in a crowded discotheque in the British sector of Berlin. This terrorist incident ignited an international crisis that culminated in President Reagan's order to bomb Bengasi and Tripoli, Libya.
During the days preceding the bombing at the La Belle Discotheque, U.S. intelligence sources had determined through wiretaps that there was a high probability of a terrorist act in Berlin. For this reason, security around military installations was substantially increased. U.S. officials also decided to take the additional step of increasing security around soft targets, such as civilian establishments frequented by U.S. service members. Military police began checking local establishments and were on their way to the La Belle when the bomb exploded. More than 450 people were in the bar when the bomb went off; 3 were killed and more than 200 people were injured. Berlin police and British security forces responded to the scene with the German Federal Criminal Police serving in an advisory capacity. The bombing event was photographically recorded and analyzed, and a search was initiated to look for any items that could lead to information about the nature and type of the explosive used. An evaluation of the international political situation indicated that Libyan-sponsored terrorists were most likely responsible for the bombing. Nezar Nawaf Hindawi, a native of Jordan and a former resident of Berlin, was arrested as the key terrorist involved. The United States subsequently retaliated against Libya after it was determined that Hindawi and his confederates had contacts with Libyan agents in Tripoli.